“I want to work to live, not live to work. I want to get home at 3 in the afternoon, not 9 at night. And we did not even reach the family basket ”. In that angry cry of a metallurgist from El Talar, North Zone, one could summarize what the metallurgical union is going through these days.
Starting salaries starting at 90,000 pesos. Overtime “to die for.” Contracts for months. And those who do the “great works of the country”, such as the pipes of the Néstor Kirchner gas pipeline, working from Monday to Monday. On top of that, in the last quarterly parity, 5 points of real salary were lost, compared to inflation. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
That is why this Tuesday the 18th, the unrest toured the factories from Tierra del Fuego to the North. Perhaps the most symbolic aspect of the day was the mobilization called by the UOM at the Grupo Techint building in Retiro. The skyscrapers were filled with blue jackets with well-known brands. They are the ones who make everything from refrigerators and washing machines to cars, chassis and supplies for hundreds of industries. But while national and foreign businessmen shovel it up, metallurgists can’t make ends meet. “How does a typical family eat every day? You have to survive the whole month” a 30-year-old factory worker told us.
As we have been reflecting, the union asks for a 30% increase, claiming 10% for what was lost in the previous parity. In addition, a bonus of 60 thousand pesos for the day of the metallurgist. It is clear that these figures do not reverse the loss of recent years or the salary situation of workers in the sector. Not to mention the most neglected branches, the workshops and those who work more precariously. But Paolo Rocca and the businessmen don’t even want to give him that.
Now. Important concentration of metallurgical workers from the UOM in front of Techint. They claim for their wages. pic.twitter.com/CqamIVAbb2
– The Daily Left (@izquierdadiario) July 18, 2023
A massive march that shows that there are forces
At noon Alem avenue was already full. From the Retiro side came the columns headed by the UOM Vicente López. On the opposite side, those of Avellaneda, Quilmes-Varela and the South Zone. From the center came down the UOM Capital with the displaced Caló leading. There were also the interior sectionals.
It is that this time the leaders had to “take the lead” because the anger from below was about to explode. As Luciano Molina, a grassroots delegate in Acindar, recounts, “in line with what Alberto Fernández promised when he won the elections that he was going to fill the refrigerator, Abel Furlán dethroned Caló with the promise that the reality of metallurgists was going to change . He has been in management for a year and a half, and the situation not only did not improve but also worsened. Being the worst paid industrial workers in the country.
That is what many of the workers who were in the march feel. “We are wrong, we have the worst salaries in the industry” they denounced.
We are in front of the doors of Techint in the framework of an important mobilization of metallurgical workers from the UOM. Follow all the news of the conflict in La Izquierda Diario. pic.twitter.com/2EOL8zRn2N
– The Daily Left (@izquierdadiario) July 18, 2023
Naldo Brunelli, Furlán’s deputy, was in Retirement but did not promote the strike in the factories of his branch, arguing that there was a conciliation due to another internal claim. The same thing happened in Rosario and other sectionals. excuses.
From the stage Furlán had to make a more critical speech than other times. He said that if the employers did not agree to the claim, there would be a strike on Thursday and Friday of this week and a 72-hour strike next week. From below the stage there was applause. Will it comply? The truth is that the metallurgists who stopped and marched today, losing attendance and prizes, showed that there is strength to fight. Not only for this quarterly parity but for recovering everything lost over the years and having a salary equal to the family basket, updated by inflation.
That was the proposal of the metallurgists who are part of the Movement of Classist Groups (MAC). Alejandra Vercellino, fired and reinstated from SIAM (Newsam), highlighted the importance of mobilization and the strength she shows. “We urgently need a salary increase, we cannot live below the poverty line. We must end temporary contracts that are a true labor fraud. This prevented many comrades from striking or mobilizing today since they were under threat of dismissal if they joined. Today we show that there are forces to take over the streets and go for all our demands. That is why we need assemblies more than ever to continue discussing among all how to continue and how to guarantee that it stops until the last workshop”.
This is how it is in the “metallurgical family”. The next few hours will be important to define how the conflict continues. But as it became clear these days, you have to organize from below to go for all the claims.