FT-CI

July 17, 2014 Buenos Aires Herald

From Lear, Gestamp conflicts emerge left-wing, independent groups

18/07/2014

From Lear, Gestamp conflicts emerge left-wing, independent groups

http://www.buenosairesherald.com/article/164767/out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new-%28unions%29

By Mariano Parada López
For The Herald

From Lear, Gestamp conflicts emerge left-wing, independent groups

Around 650 workers at the car-parts company Lear are pressuring their bosses to respond to the dismissal of 100 of their colleagues. They have organized several demonstrations in the past two weeks, as well as a picket that was eventually countered by security forces last Tuesday. So far the firm has not allowed the shop stewards to enter the factory.

A similar situation is playing out for the workers of Gestamp, which also manufactures car parts. They have demanded that the company rehire 70 dismissed workers. Meanwhile, employees of the printing firm RR Donnelley joined Lear workers at a recent rally to protest the layoff of 123 of their colleagues.

Early in the year, SUTEBA – a Buenos Aires province teachers’ union – staged a lengthy strike against what they regarded as an insufficient pay hike (i.e. below the official inflation rate) offered by Governor Daniel Scioli’s administration. Roberto Baradel, the head of the teachers’ union, denied that left-leaning parties had been behind the conflict, despite some observers having considered the strike to have been propelled by left-wing activists within SUTEBA.

These labour conflicts follow a common trend: new union organizations emerge, rejecting old leadership, before rallying for support from nervy businessmen. The result has been the renaissance of leftist trade unionism, which has also absorbed so-called “independent” workers.

“The working-class is waking up,” said Silvio Fanti, a Lear worker and member of the local union representing the 650 employees. While he admits there are some union members in Lear who are part of left-wing parties, he said he himself is an “independent.” Fanti has worked at the car-part manufacturer for 15 years and became a regional shop steward in 2011, when his group won the internal elections against the pro-government SMATA auto workers union led by Ricardo Pignanelli.

Fanti accuses SMATA officials of turning their backs on Lear workers in their demands for better working conditions. “Trade unions don’t want independent members, and even less so left-wing activists,” Fanti told the Herald. “We work with a lot of different people, but it doesn’t mean we’re all left-wing,” he added. “There are local committees which are claiming their independence from the trade unions. The working-class is waking up and demanding fairer working conditions,” he said.

Fanti says he’s certain there will be more “democratic” trade unions as a consequence of the emergence of these regional committees, and accused SMATA of sharing the same interests as the company.

Roberto Amador from Gestamp largely agreed: “The union wouldn’t listen to us. They told us in April that nothing was going to happen but then the firm fired 23 people, all of whom were opposed to the union.” He said the unions claim they’re powerless, suggesting that anyone with a critical opinion of them is considered a “leftist.” A PTS party activist, Amador told the Herald that a committee member was threatened: “One of the shop stewards received a letter which said he would be killed.”

Local delegates have been operating within Gestamp since 2007. The committee was comprised of pro-Pignanelli activists until 2012, when three “independent” shop stewards were voted in. According to Amador, the election came as a result of a new generation of workers: “There were lots of young people hired by Gestamp who didn’t trust the ruling bloc. It’s not a case of the leftist parties agitating for change, but because of our own colleagues within many SMATA factories who are expressing their anger.”

The relationship between the union and the local committee is quite different at RR Donnelley. “The union has declared that it is opposed (to the dismissals). Union support is really important for us,” stressed Jorge Medina, a shop steward.

The eight members of the local committee at Donnelley, who form the “Brown List,” are against the ruling “Green List” linked to the Buenos Aires Province Graphics Union, still led by Raimundo Ongaro, a long-term union leader and the founder of the CGT de los Argentinos in the 60s. Despite their political differences, Medina has not criticized Ongaro: “We’re permanently in touch with the union. They’ve publicly denounced the dismissals and called on the entire union to be on the alert.” Both Lear and Donnelly workers recently held a protest in front of the US Chamber of Commerce in Buenos Aires.

Economic restraints

If the increasing mistrust of unions is one of the pillars of local committees, the country’s current economic situation is another.

Romina del Plá is the delegate of the La Matanza section of SUTEBA and the niece of Claudio del Plá, a Workers Party politician in Salta province. She shared her views on why some long-standing union leaders risk losing support: “Leaders who follow sitting governments and give up on (traditional labour) demands are likely to lose workers’ support. Workers feel fed up with fake nationalism. Peronism has been a serious burden for workers for the last 40 years, which has resulted in the emergence of a new generation of workers who see leftist parties as an exit strategy.”

From the business perspective

Business leaders, meanwhile, are sensing the emergence of these new trade unions, though they see them as a temporary phenomenon.

“It’s drawn our attention to the year’s economic problems,” said Juan Cantarella, General Manager of car-parts industry group AFAC. “There are shared problems among (workers of) the entire industry, and they’re usually employment problems, like dismissals and the desire to work fewer hours.”

Unless Gestamp and Lear conflicts appear on the front pages of newspapers any time soon, AFAC doesn’t see the phenomenon turning into anything bigger. “They (the conflicts) are concentrated in northern Greater Buenos Aires, where many leftist groups are headed. They don’t have the sufficient structure to expand across the entire industry. It is true that their task is made easier when the economic situation worsens,” Cantarella suggested, admitting the relationship between SMATA and his industry is “good.”

AFAC, like workers in the industry, have stated that the conflict has escalated on occassions: “They can’t take over a plant and threaten those workers who want to work as usual. There have been acts of sabotage.”

The Herald was able to determine that some in the Argentine Industrial Union (UIA) see the conflict as a consequence of economic stagnation and the high rate of inflation. The UIA also does not expect the new organizations to expand, but is “aware” of their existence. “These are times of uncertainty,” a senior UIA source told the Herald.

Related articles

No hay comentarios a esta nota

Newspapers

  • EDITORIAL

    PTS (Argentina)

  • Actualidad Nacional

    MTS (México)

  • EDITORIAL

    LTS (Venezuela)

  • DOSSIER : Leur démocratie et la nôtre

    CCR NPA (Francia)

  • ContraCorriente Nro42 Suplemento Especial

    Clase contra Clase (Estado Español)

  • Movimento Operário

    MRT (Brasil)

  • LOR-CI (Bolivia) Bolivia Liga Obrera Revolucionaria - Cuarta Internacional Palabra Obrera Abril-Mayo Año 2014 

Ante la entrega de nuestros sindicatos al gobierno

1° de Mayo

Reagrupar y defender la independencia política de los trabajadores Abril-Mayo de 2014 Por derecha y por izquierda

La proimperialista Ley Minera del MAS en la picota

    LOR-CI (Bolivia)

  • PTR (Chile) chile Partido de Trabajadores Revolucionarios Clase contra Clase 

En las recientes elecciones presidenciales, Bachelet alcanzó el 47% de los votos, y Matthei el 25%: deberán pasar a segunda vuelta. La participación electoral fue de solo el 50%. La votación de Bachelet, representa apenas el 22% del total de votantes. 

¿Pero se podrá avanzar en las reformas (cosméticas) anunciadas en su programa? Y en caso de poder hacerlo, ¿serán tales como se esperan en “la calle”? Editorial El Gobierno, el Parlamento y la calle

    PTR (Chile)

  • RIO (Alemania) RIO (Alemania) Revolutionäre Internationalistische Organisation Klasse gegen Klasse 

Nieder mit der EU des Kapitals!

Die Europäische Union präsentiert sich als Vereinigung Europas. Doch diese imperialistische Allianz hilft dem deutschen Kapital, andere Teile Europas und der Welt zu unterwerfen. MarxistInnen kämpfen für die Vereinigten Sozialistischen Staaten von Europa! 

Widerstand im Spanischen Staat 

Am 15. Mai 2011 begannen Jugendliche im Spanischen Staat, öffentliche Plätze zu besetzen. Drei Jahre später, am 22. März 2014, demonstrierten Hunderttausende in Madrid. Was hat sich in diesen drei Jahren verändert? Editorial Nieder mit der EU des Kapitals!

    RIO (Alemania)

  • Liga de la Revolución Socialista (LRS - Costa Rica) Costa Rica LRS En Clave Revolucionaria Noviembre Año 2013 N° 25 

Los cuatro años de gobierno de Laura Chinchilla han estado marcados por la retórica “nacionalista” en relación a Nicaragua: en la primera parte de su mandato prácticamente todo su “plan de gobierno” se centró en la “defensa” de la llamada Isla Calero, para posteriormente, en la etapa final de su administración, centrar su discurso en la “defensa” del conjunto de la provincia de Guanacaste que reclama el gobierno de Daniel Ortega como propia. Solo los abundantes escándalos de corrupción, relacionados con la Autopista San José-Caldera, los casos de ministros que no pagaban impuestos, así como el robo a mansalva durante los trabajos de construcción de la Trocha Fronteriza 1856 le pusieron límite a la retórica del equipo de gobierno, que claramente apostó a rivalizar con el vecino país del norte para encubrir sus negocios al amparo del Estado. martes, 19 de noviembre de 2013 Chovinismo y militarismo en Costa Rica bajo el paraguas del conflicto fronterizo con Nicaragua

    Liga de la Revolución Socialista (LRS - Costa Rica)

  • Grupo de la FT-CI (Uruguay) Uruguay Grupo de la FT-CI Estrategia Revolucionaria 

El año que termina estuvo signado por la mayor conflictividad laboral en más de 15 años. Si bien finalmente la mayoría de los grupos en la negociación salarial parecen llegar a un acuerdo (aún falta cerrar metalúrgicos y otros menos importantes), los mismos son un buen final para el gobierno, ya que, gracias a sus maniobras (y las de la burocracia sindical) pudieron encausar la discusión dentro de los marcos del tope salarial estipulado por el Poder Ejecutivo, utilizando la movilización controlada en los marcos salariales como factor de presión ante las patronales más duras que pujaban por el “0%” de aumento. Entre la lucha de clases, la represión, y las discusiones de los de arriba Construyamos una alternativa revolucionaria para los trabajadores y la juventud

    Grupo de la FT-CI (Uruguay)