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Workers in Argentina face lay-offs

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8 February, 2016Workers in both the public and private sectors in Argentina are facing lay-offs and dismissals. IndustriALL Global Union rejects these measures and urges President Mauricio Macri’s government to promote social dialogue and respect workers’ rights.

Sixty workers are at risk of losing their jobs in the clothing sector after the Kevingston company announced it will stop making clothes in the country and will import them instead Workers have taken action in response to the threat of dismissal.

Workers at Felsom, which makes clothing for Kevingston, went out into the streets to protest. They are members of the tailors’ union, the Unión Cortadores de la Indumentaria (UCI), affiliated to IndustriALL:

We held a successful demonstration against Kevingston. It outsourced work to other companies but when the crisis came, it tried to cut its links with them without paying wages or anything else. The demonstration forced the company to accept responsibility and incorporate these workers into its workforce with full rights,

explained the UCI’s general secretary, Heraldo Mage.

Oil industry workers are also on the alert after the Chamber of Special Oil Industry Operations Companies (Cámara de Empresas de Operaciones Petroleras Especiales, CEOPE) asked the government for authorization to lay off 5,000 workers in Neuquén because of the crisis in the sector.

Alberto Roberti, general secretary of the Oil, Gas and Biofuel Union Federation (F.A.Si.Pe.G. y Bio) affiliated to IndustriALL) commented:

At this stage, the unions are on the alert given the likelihood of dismissals. As yet, no workers have been dismissed in the sector, which is good news. My feeling is that the companies are not going to be able to do that. However, we are in a state of expectancy and are very concerned about the situation,

he said.

Most unions are getting ready to negotiate at sector pay negotiating forums but are prioritizing jobs.

In the private sector, 20,000 to 24,000 jobs are in the balance, according to reliable data provided by the unions. There have been very few jobs losses in the metalworking sector. UOMRA will prioritize maintaining employment levels during the negotiations, while trying to maintain the purchasing power of wages,

explained the Adviser in the Secretariat of international relations of the metalworkers’ union (UOMRA), Eduardo Paladín.

Meanwhile, 28,000 public sector workers lost their jobs in December when the government announced it would not renew their contracts, which it considered to be temporary. The civil service union (ATE) intervened and managed to secure the reinstatement of more than 5,000 workers.

The Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA) has rejected the Argentinean government’s adjustment policies, dismissals and repression, claiming that it is “suppressing the labour rights recovered during the last twelve years”.  

Jorge Almeida, IndustriALL Regional Secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean commented on the current situation in Argentina:

IndustriALL Global Union is closely following the situation in Argentina and is ready to provide solidarity to its affiliates who are fighting for their jobs, fair wages and decent working conditions.