Bariloche 03/19/2024. A postcard of the assemblies of hospital workers held throughout the province.

The health sector in Río Negro began a 72-hour strike starting this past Tuesday, March 19. With the beginning of it, assemblies were held in hospitals, camps and demonstrations at their entrances, marches, among several other demonstrations that are planned. These are calls organized by the ASSPUR union and by self-convened sectors. The actions range from the toughening of the strike in the guards to the voluntary resignation of more than 80% of the chief doctors of areas in solidarity with the bulk of the claim that brings together nursing and all hospital staff.

This is an extensive conflict, which goes from El Bolsón and Bariloche to Viedma, passing through each of the towns of Alto Valle, Valle Medio, the coast and the southern line. Salary claims are combined with demands for supplies due to the shortage that exists in each hospital. This conflict, in turn, highlights the disregard of successive provincial governments, who since times of pandemic have denied ASSPUR and the self-convened sectors any real joint table. In Bariloche, one of the most complex hospitals in the province, a large self-organized sector stands out and has been carrying out actions inside and outside the hospital, attracting the support of the community. Added to these actions is a tightening of combat measures.

Five Jumps.  Photo: Facebook Fesprosa Río Negro Delegation
Five Jumps. Photo: Facebook Fesprosa Río Negro Delegation

The thing is that everything happens at the small table where Weretilneck and its officials sit down to negotiate with the ATE and UPCN bureaucracies. Both union centers have already accepted a downward salary increase, with non-remunerative sums that continue to make the basic salary precarious and a miserable bonus of 60 thousand pesos. The cynicism of the leadership of ATE reaches such a point that the Secretary General Rodrigo Vicente himself stated: “we are in a position to accept, because it is a proposal that establishes a minimum floor of dignity.” For its part, UPCN declares for the platform that the increases are percentage and go to the basic while it remains missing from all real claims in the workplace and on the streets.

This union truce is like water in the desert for Weretilneck. The new governor, who triumphed thanks to the support of Kirchnerism and radicalism, considered honoring the provincial debt with the Castello bondholders “whatever the cost.” This implies a policy of salary adjustment in all state branches, the budget reduction voted in the legislature for health, education, among other items. Added to this scenario is the reduction in automatic and non-automatic national transfers that Milei reduced for all provinces.

Surround the health fight with solidarity

In this context, the Health claims become relevant, because they reveal what union leaders, government officials and the mainstream media hide: you cannot work more than 8 hours a day, have a poverty salary, distribute a pittance of medical supplies in guards and hospitalizations and continue bowing our heads.

Beltran.  Photo: Facebook Fesprosa Río Negro Delegation
Beltran. Photo: Facebook Fesprosa Río Negro Delegation

During the week, the other union of provincial importance, UnTER, has to hold a new congress to accept or reject a new salary offer that is almost the same as the previous one: take about 20 thousand pesos of the 90 offered to the basic salary . Opposition sections have already declared that the central should have called a new 48-hour strike as resolved at the last union congress. The Central is trying to give time to a provincial government that no longer fits the mask of “opponent to Milei” while in the province it applies a mirror adjustment to the National Executive.

Surrounding the Health conflict with solidarity is an act of self-defense. If in the teaching assemblies, in the teaching inter-claisters and university student centers, in each of the workplaces the Health struggle arrives, the entire working class will be in better conditions to face what is coming. Because in the midst of the adjustment, the “every man for himself” imposed by the union truce is being confronted in an organized manner.


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