Buenos Aires Times

economy END OF YEAR

Gov't, business agree to bonus payment; unions cry foul

Dissident union leaders have described the decision as a "farce" and say they are continuining with their plans to lead a 36-hour general strike, which would coincide with the G20 leaders summit in November.

Thursday 8 November, 2018
Union leader Hugo Moyano.
Union leader Hugo Moyano. Foto:Cedoc

Workers in the private sector will receive a 5,000-peso end-of-year bonus, after the Macri government, business leaders and some unions agreed Wednesday on a path forward to addressing real wage loss.

However, dissident union leaders have described the decision as a "farce" and say they are continuing with their plans to lead a 36-hour general strike against the Macri administration, which would coincide with the G20 leaders summit in November.

"We had a very good meeting yesterday (Wednesday) with the CGT and the business sector. The bonus will be compensatory and non-remunerative, paid in two quotes, only for the private sector at this stage", Production and Labour Minister Dante Sica told Radio Contintental.

"Until the public sector concludes its collective wage bargaining, this only concerns the private sector. We are working on the draft text", he added.

"This is a fictitious announcement, it's trickery. The bonus itself does not exist", CTA union leader Hugo Yasky told FM Delta, describing the plan as a "farce".

"It's clear that the measures the government adopted in the Budget and about all in its deal with the IMF (International Monetary Fund) are going to depend the recession: there is no prospect of avoiding this", he added.

"I don't believe in any commitment (of the government), because it's all about photo opportunities", he said.

Some unions have backed the government's proposal. CGT umbrella union leaders Héctor Daer and Carlos Acuña were present at Wednesday's meeting, Armando Cavalieri (Small Business), Omar Maturano (La Fraternidad), Andrés Rodríguez (UPCN), José Luis Lingeri (Hygiene Workers), Jorge Sola (Insurance), Roberto Fernández (UTA) and Abel Frutos, among others.

UPCN public sector workers union leader Andrés Rodríguez said the bonus could put the brakes on the CGT's strike plans.

"If what we're talking about happens, then the measure could be postponed", he said.

Rodríguez described the bonus as "a step forward in a difficult context".

Responding to union concerns, Sica said the government had maintained "fluid dialogue" with the unions despite a general state of tension over the impact of inflation and a slumping national currency on real wages.

"We have maintained fluid dialogue with all the unions. We have put back together a round table for dialogue, which in the last few months had not functioned well", he said.

-TIMES

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