Secretary General of FETERA and Deputy Secretary General of the CTA Autónoma (CTAA), José Rigane, told Surtidores that he “is not willing to cede benefits or acquired rights, as other trade union representatives intend to do,” and did not rule out measures that will affect fuels’ production and distribution.
After the news that some guilds would be willing to negotiate a reform of the working hours and working conditions of oil producing provinces’ employees, CTAA leader José Rigane, warned that “workers’ representatives in the sector must realize that they cannot surrender acquired rights.”
He also added that “oil companies as usual, threaten the government to leave the country and use workers as an adjustment variable, often with the indifference of those who must defend them.”
He warned that if the President’s Labor Reform begins with the oil workers, “we will do everything necessary to avoid it and we will take industrial actions that will affect general activity”.
The unionist denounced that the national government is negotiating with the oil sector a strong labour flexibilization –promoted by the main operating companies and with the acceptance of some important trade union leaders from the region of Patagonia-, which directly attacks the working conditions of workers in the wells in the reservoirs and other sectors of hydrocarbon activity.
He assured the Executive’s initiative, in coordination with employers, is mainly intended for the fields of Vaca Muerta, in Neuquén, although as a great test before introducing the reforms throughout the country.
“The goal is to fulfil the oil companies’ requests to make the sector more profitable, as if they had not made millions of dollars in recent years in the country. But the intention is also to show foreign investors that in Argentina there is a government capable of “overrunning workers’ rights,” Rigane explained.
He made clear that although they aim at reducing the sector wages, the spearhead of the reform is to go for the working conditions and the objective is to make work even more flexible, clearing the way for the companies’ extraordinary income.
He directly accused Macri and major oil companies, such as YPF, PAE, Total of pushing for a strong modification to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CCT) for Vaca Muerta with the objective of improving the company’s “productivity” by reducing “labour costs”.
He explained that the initiative seewks, for example, the elimination of additional wages for oil workers; the reduction of personnel in drilling teams (halving each team from 24 to 12 workers approximately,) which means unemployment or suspensions; minimum wage cuts; halving the time for rest and / or doubling the hours of work in the deposit; the elimination of the so-called “taxi hours”, which refers to the long time of travel of each worker from their homes to the field; fixed-term contracts and the possibility of suspension or cancellation if the operator needs it; that operators be able to pay only for the “worked hours”, eliminating thus labour benefits; enabling “multifunctionality”, which means that each worker will perform different tasks which today are carried out by different workers (such as working on towers and maintenance), among other issues.
He called the whole labour movement to work in coordination, unity of action, solidarity, unity in the struggle and with strategic perspective. “No sector is saved alone, the working class depends on the working class and nothing else,” he said.