January 23, 2018
Saturday, August 6, 2016

CGT: country is going from ‘bad to worse’

CGT Alsina Antonio Caló (left), CGT Azopardo Hugo Moyano (centre) and Blue and White CGT Luis Barrionuevo attend yesterday’s plenary.

Divided umbrella group confirms decision to formally reunite at August 22 summit

The country’s divided CGT umbrella union issued yesterday a joint statement condemning the policies implemented by the Mauricio Macri administration, warning about the “economic recession, increase in poverty and public utility hikes that can’t be paid.” It also warned about negative social and economic perspectives.

At the same time, CGT Azopardo head Hugo Moyano, Antonio Caló’s CGT Alsina and the Blue and White CGT head Luis Barrionuevo confirmed their decision to unite the splintered confederation at a gathering on August 22, following years of hostility and uneasy cooperation.

“In almost all the areas in which measures were promised to solve the country’s complicated economic and social situation, we only see an exponential worsening of those problems,” the document entitled “from bad to worse” reads.

The inflation rate of the first half of the year has “surpassed the goal expected for the whole year,” the divided organizations said, claiming the Macri administration is “far away” from its 25 percent annual inflation target. The “most optimistic” reports see the consumer price index at between 43 and 45 percent, they said.

“The drop in production, which started in the last quarter of 2015, has also accelerated in the first half of the year, leading to a recession. All the sectors’ data show a drop for the whole industry, especially in the auto, construction and in the iron and steel sectors,” the report reads.

“The fiscal deficit, which the current government said was one of the worst enemies, has increased about 5.2 percent in the first five months of the year. That adds up to the growing fiscal burden on Argentine families, which use half their income to pay taxes,” it added. All these figures show the quality of life of Argentines has dropped, the three branches of the CGT agreed, claiming there’s growing inflation, recession, and drop in purchasing-power, greater poverty, growing public debt, more imports, increases in public utility rates that can’t be paid and schooling problems.

The document called to organize a “popular movement headed by the workers and formed by all the labour and production sectors that propose alternatives to defend jobs.” It should be a “socio-economic and non-political initiative that has its focus on the problems and needs of the labour world.”

Upcoming summit

Union leaders are set to meet on August 22 to settle on a consensus candidate for the leadership of the three unions. Up for debate will be whether the umbrella union will continue to be headed by a single secretary-general or by a troika of union bosses. Moyano has already said he will formally resign at the date set for the meeting.

The three leaders met at a plenary yesterday in which the document against Macri’s policies was approved. While Moyano said the unity of the CGT “is not under discussion as it’s already a fact,” the other union leaders left the door open for the unions that didn’t participate in the plenary to be part of the August 22 meeting.

“It’s not necessary to head an organization to have an important role,” Barrionuevo said, claiming they will try to have a “strong leadership” of the unified CGT in which “everybody works in the same direction.”

As well as Moyano, Caló and Barrionuevo, the three candidates to lead the CGT also attended: Juan Carlos Schmid of the powerful CATT transport union, Héctor Daer of the health workers union and Carlos Acuña of the service station workers union. The taxi-drivers union headed by Omar Viviani didn’t participate nor did the farm workers unions headed by Gerónimo Venegas.

Schmid also has ambitions to lead a united CGT and has the backing of Moyano to take his place. Moyano has already ruled out the possibility of one his sons replacing him atop the Azopardo grouping.

“We’ll keep fighting to have a national CGT in which all sectors are represented. We have to maintain the legacy of Juan Domingo Perón,” Venegas said.

Moyano and others prefer the united CGT to be run by a troika. As such, Sergio Palazzo of the bank clercks’ union has nominated himself to be one of three future leaders.

Herald with Télam, DyN

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