The yell for Justice for Lucía and #NiUnaMenos echoed again. Not even the hardest rain could hold the anger and discontent. It was a historical journey, in our country and the world, one of those that will remain in the popular memory. Because male-chauvinism and violence against women do not recognize frontiers, the response was international.

By PSTU Argentina.

Hours before, in the workplaces thousands of workers challenged the truce made by the Unions and took the struggle in their own hands.
It was very clear to see: while the leaders of the CGT [Workers’ General Confederation], together with Pope Francisco, were sitting with the government to negotiate a few crumbs in exchange of imposing the adjustment and hand over our conquests, female workers went ahead and organized base meetings, pickets, partial stoppages of production, etc.

The other part was made by popular organizations, together with the students and teachers that recently occupied schools against the “Operation Learn 2016” and all the reforms attacking public education.
Although the media tried to hide or reduce it, we felt in the rallies the discontent against the government is growing. We lost our voices denouncing categorical facts to those who say ‘this is not the moment to encourage the struggle’, and we multiplied the debate in our workplaces: we cannot bear this anymore, to defend our families the workers need a general strike and a plan of struggle to defeat Macri’s plan.

While the CGT negotiates to hand us over…

Once again, the CGT leaders are playing a shameful role. The very same day of the extraordinary demonstration, they went to “dialogue about production and jobs” as proposed by the government. As we said before, they cancelled the strike in exchange of crumbs, handing over the conquests obtained by the workers after years of struggle and blood.

There were no surprises. The government and the businessmen posed what they had already informed about a few days before in the IDEA symposium in Mar del Plata – the encounter in which the most important businessmen of the country gather to affirm the only “idea” of moving forward with the implementation of the adjustment to guarantee their profits. Once again, the businessmen asked for measures to guarantee productivity.

At the same time, this agreement was sealed in the summit of Macri with the Pope in his tour through the Vatican. This is where the arrangements made by the Catholic Church come from to guarantee the truce of the Union leaderships and their participation in the dialogue table, together with social organizations.

In fact, the Union leaders made a commitment to start the negotiations the businessmen want: more labour flexibility, to limit labour suits, lower salaries to reduce costs, etc.

In exchange, they left the negotiation table empty-handed. The government denied the possibility of implementing any kind of measure to avoid layoffs, and there was not debate whatsoever about a wage readjustment to balance the salary with the price increase of 2016.
The only thing they took was the promise of a $2000 bonus [US$131]. But the lie did not stand much: the minister Triaca clarified it is a non-remunerative one-time bonus, not applicable to the State workers and in the provinces, and not mandatory but negotiable according the conditions of each sector. Obviously, several business chambers already informed they will not pay it.
Meanwhile, the government plans a budget for 2017 according to the adjustment plan, and the companies in complicity with the justice prepare the field for the adjustment by increasing the persecution to the activists currently confronting the bosses’ attacks.

… the workers rise.

Against the open hand-over they are planning, it emerges the successful Struggle Day we organized, the “Black Wednesday”. Beyond the limitations of the call itself, it was a significant step organizing the struggle from below and breaking with the truce imposed ‘from the above’.

We have to take advantage of this boost to continue supporting and developing the current struggles. We must unify the demands in defense of our lives, against femicides and violence against women, with all those demands felt by the working people and that confront Macri’s plan.
And we need to confront this plan now, developing the broadest unity of struggle. There can be no excuses. Reality has shown it is possible. We cannot wait until the elections of 2017, like Cristina [Kirchner] is proposing.

The CTAs [the two branches of the Argentine Workers’ Confederation] are flirting with the strike but they do not take action, while they divide the calls among the guilds each of them lead, weakening the struggle. Truck-drivers and bank workers organized in the Federal branch of the CGT threatened of splitting the recent unification to boost some kind of measure.
From the PSTU, we say this is not enough. All the Unions’ apparatuses have to serve the struggle. They need to call for joint workers’ plenaries, open to all workers and union organizations willing to participate, no matter what union they make part of, to organize the necessary National Strike and plan of struggle, so the Internal and Section Commissions, and even the regional Unions currently mobilizing despite the paralysis of the National leadership (like CGT Cordoba, that went on strike this week) can be part of the organization of the struggle to defeat Macri’s plan and the bosses, and force the ones “looking the other way” to be part too, giving steps in the debate of emergency measures for a popular workers’ solution to the crisis, like the ones we propose in our newspaper.

We are to serve this task, and we invite you to join us.

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Published in Avanzada Socialista 119 – PSTU Argentina.

Translation: Sofia Ballack.