The co-owners of the CGT Pablo Moyano, Carlos Acuña and Héctor Daer
After the elections, the worst thing that could have been imagined is happening to the CGT and to unionism in general, in addition to the defeat of Sergio Massa: they cannot find valid interlocutors in the future government of Javier Milei. For now, the union leadership is moving without success in searching for details about the measures that will be applied from December 10 and is also unable to maintain contact with the officials who will arrive. A scenario that the union “body” is not used to: a lot of uncertainty that sometimes turns into panic about what may come.
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Omar Yasín, future Secretary of Labor, is in seclusion defining his team and his plans. Many union members know him because he was an official of Jorge Triaca in the Cambiemos government, but the unofficial meetings have not yet started to introduce himself and talk about what will happen when Milei takes office. “Yasín was asked to stop the contacts that he was going to start with us so that the measures do not leak; That’s why we don’t know anything,” said the leader of an industrial union.
One of his colleagues, on the other hand, slips that there will not be any in-depth labor reform, but rather an initial commitment to two initiatives that could be part of the “Omnibus Law” that Milei will promote to be approved in the extraordinary sessions of Congress: one is the modification of the system of labor fines for poorly registered or unregistered work and another, the compensation system for new workers, based on the Labor Termination Fund that the UOCRA has. “If this were the case, it would be a mini-labor reform and it will be difficult for us to oppose it,” acknowledged a CGT executive.
The CGT warned that it will not take “not one step back” in the defense of its rights when Javier Milei takes office
The key that will reassure unionism is that Milei wants to strictly maintain the salary discussion through joint associations and will not endanger the Argentine union model, devised by Juan Domingo Perón, which grants the State the power to determine which union is more representative and thus receive legal status, a decisive figure that grants them the “power of the pen” to sign collective agreements and manage their own social works, among other privileges.
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Even so, unionists know that there will be fronts of conflict guaranteed if Milei advances with a strong adjustment in the State and leaves public employees without work, although they trust that to guarantee governability the libertarians will have to seek an alliance with Peronism. And in that scheme, of course, the CGT will be a key tool to enable protest or seal a truce.
Milei made some announcements after the runoff that put the union leadership on alert, such as when he spoke of paralyzing public works and businessmen in the sector warned that this had triggered dismissal telegrams in construction. The one who moved quickly to avoid an employment crisis in his sector was the leader of the UOCRA, Gerardo Martínez, who contacted Guillermo Ferraro, the designated Minister of Infrastructure, with political and union ties like his future colleague from the Interior Minister, Guillermo Francos, another link that the CGT is betting on.
Sandra Pettovello and Guillermo Ferraro, future ministers of Human Capital and Infrastructure
In the Transportation area, which will be under Ferraro’s orbit, union leaders set up their own information network to share data about Milei’s plans. Some have an advantage because they know the future head of Infrastructure from his time at the consulting firm KPMG and from having worked for the governments of Mauricio Macri, Eduardo Duhalde and Néstor Kirchner.
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In the area of Health, however, confusion prevails: there is still no person in charge of the secretariat that will function within the new Ministry of Human Capital, which Sandra Pettovello will direct. Eduardo Filgueira Lima, the Health representative of La Libertad Avanza who was already acting as the secretary of the area, had a discussion a week ago with Pettovello, who reproached him for the information about the new Health organization chart that was published in Infobae. There, the elimination of the Superintendency of Health Services, an autonomous entity that administers social works funds, was contemplated, and in the official scheme being analyzed it would remain as a national direction.
The news puts union leaders on a war footing, who still have problems getting the State to compensate for the strong financial deficit of the social works system. If we add to that the disappearance of the organization that manages these funds and greater deregulation of the activity in the style of that ordered by Carlos Menem during his government, union members fear that the entire medical benefits scheme that they manage today will remain hostage to the sector. private.
Javier Milei, Omar Yasín and Gerardo Martínez
Some have already called an old acquaintance from the Menemist era like Rodolfo Barra to congratulate him on his announced appointment as Treasury Attorney and, incidentally, ask him what Milei will do in the labor, union and health areas. He doesn’t know either. The libertarian style is, for union members, synonymous with improvisation, inexperience, informational lock and internal tug-of-war to divide up spaces.
A week ago, the CGT deliberated for the first time since the runoff and, with concern about the president-elect’s first announcements, decided to open a waiting period until the new government takes office. The 55.65% of the votes that Milei obtained have a deterrent effect among the leaders who until recently threatened to take to the streets in the face of a libertarian victory. Today, Pablo Moyano, the self-proclaimed fighter “against the right,” is not even heard. Héctor Daer, co-head of the CGT, warned after the meeting: “If they advance on union rights, we will take measures.”
Today, almost two weeks after Milei’s victory, union members are not certain about their measures. Some suspect that sometimes there is no information because today there is not much clarity about what the government is going to do. “With Alberto (Fernández) sometimes the same thing happened to us, but we ignored it because he is a Peronist,” confessed a Cegetista leader in an act of “sincericide.”