All over 2015, companies tried to charge the austerity plans on the workers’ backs, by imposing retirements without the corresponding relays, and by reducing personnel, restraining salary negotiations, confiscating part of the salary through the Income Tax*, which, with the current inflation imposed by the monopolies, corrodes our salaries. This adjustment continues to deepen during 2016, guaranteed by Mauricio Macri’s government, regardless of the hundreds of families who will be cast to the streets. We cannot let the workers, their families and the Patagonian people to always be the adjustable variable when the economic crisis hits.

 

We are witnessing several conflicts in our towns and cities: the UOCRA[1], longshoremen and state employees from Caleta Olivia, oil workers from Las Heras, miners from San Julian, press workers of El Patagónico journal, and even workers of the oilfields organized inside UOCRA; from Esquel to Trelew, where struggles against the increase of electricity bills have been taking place. All these workers, just like the oil workers in Chubut, are resisting, confronting the adjustment plans. With this level of struggle and resistance by the workers over better work conditions, it is a shame that the CGT and the CTA[2] shine by their absence, allowing like this for the companies to carry on their dispositions. They are abandoning workers and the people to their fate. We demand them to break the governability pact they are part of, and to take the lead on these struggles, which is what they should be doing, what they were elected for.

We need to strengthen the unity and coordination of these struggles, taking place all over the country. We cannot remain isolated. Whether we win this struggle together, or we will lose it.

This is why we need to mobilize the entire Patagonian region: families and neighborhoods have to make this struggle their own, as our future is at risk. This land has been pillaged for over a century; millions of dollars where made out of our gold and silver mining, fishing and fruit, our wool, our gas and, specially, our petroleum production. It is time for us to get back something of what has been stolen from us, as  it was made on the effort of Patagonian workers. We need to stay mobilized and organized, through workers’ meetings. People should also organize popular meetings, to make a list of neighborhoods’ priorities, together with the Unions; starting by full employment, followed by public works, such as hospitals, aqueducts, housing and schools. This mobilization must be the spearhead for the Unions to make a serious wage debate, breaking with the bosses’ and government extortion, which force us to accept miserable salaries under the threat of dismissals.

The time is coming for the Patagonian people to take action against multinational corporations, which took from us countless amounts of wealth, and made huge profits out of wool, gold and oil production with the complicity of local and national governments and the bourgeoisie parties, during the periods of raise of the prices on the world market. We need to start thinking on full nationalization of natural resources, under workers control. This is the only way for our efforts and sacrifice to stay within our people. Let’s continue the struggle, trusting our own strengths; may the whole Patagonian people rise and turn the unity we need into a Front of Struggle to stand for workers’ dignity; for a unified coordination of struggles, and a common petition voted on workers’ meetings, towards a Congress of Patagonian Unions and activists.

 

Stop dismissals on the oilfields and any other workplace!

Stop adjusting the workers! Stop the inflation!

This crisis should be paid by the capitalists who generated it!

Plan of struggle of all workers’ sectors, in defense of salaries and employment!

For the CGT and CTA to break their stillness, and head and organize the plan of struggle!

Mobilization and coordination of all Patagonian people in defense of our natural resources! For the full nationalization under workers’ control!

 

Notes:

*The Income Tax is a tax imposed to workers’ salaries. It is calculated on the annual income.

1 UOCRA: “Construction Workers’ Union of the Argentine Republic”. National Trade Union of civil construction workers, affiliated to CGT.

2 CGT – General Confederation of Labour, and CTA – Argentine Workers’ Central Union. CTA was created during the 90’s as a rupture of CGT. Both of them under the leadership of Hugo Moyano and Hugo Yasky respectively, are extremely bureaucratized. They only participate of struggles under base pressure, or in favour of their own interests (often electoral). When they actually call for a struggle, it tends to be imposed from the top, with no base democracy, workers’ meetings or any kind of workers’ organization or debate, covering themselves with a public position but guaranteeing there is actually no mobilization from the base to it.

 

Translation: Guillermo Zuñiga