Friday, September 11, 2009

[olympiaworkers] Subway workers hold 'no fare' protest and strike in Buenas Aires Sep 11 2009

This week employees on the Buenas Aires subway freed turnstiles for two
hours in a move to press the government to grant legal status to their
recently created trade union as well as taking strike action.

According to Argentine law only one union on each trade or activity can be
granted legal status and therefore, participate in wage bargaining or
legally call for a strike.

The spokesman of the workers, Néstor Segovia, said in a radio interview
that the union "is demanding that the Labor Ministry grants legal status"
to the subway workers union, whose workers last year voted in favour of
creating a new union as a result of differences with the UTA transport
workers union which now gathers all workers in the transport activity.

UTA claims the initiative would go against the law, as it goes against
their interests. Nevertheless, a ruling of the Supreme Court last year
paved the way for changes in the law in a move to democratize labor

Another union representative, Roberto Pianelli, later in the week told the
press that workers will also be taking strike action which will interrupt
service on all subway lines from noon till 2pm, but said that workers
wanted to "avoid" the strike and that they waited up to the last minute to
call it off.

Pianelli said that if before noon they get a phone call to begin solving
the problem of the legal recognition of a trade union of subway workers
independent from the larger Transportation Workers Union (UTA) then they
may reconsider. However, the delegate never received that call and the
strike began at 12 pm sharp on all six lines of Buenos Aires city subway.

Company officials said the strike would affect 160,000 passengers.

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