Gabriel Martinez, Secretary of Organization of the Argentine Federation of Energy Workers (FETERA-CTA) participated in the public hearing that recently took place to discuss the price of gas in Argentina and said that “increasing gas prices without knowing the costs, as well as keeping an inconsistent, expensive and inefficient corporate structure, only leads to ensuring profits for companies, which is what they’re asking for. But it won’t lead to an efficient, generalized and universalized public service for all Argentines, which is what we lack”.
By Gabriel Martínez (FETERA-CTA)
I represent the workers in the energy sector who in the mid-nineties organized themselves in the Argentine Workers’ Central Union (CTA) in the defense of public property, public companies, workers’ rights and collective labour agreements. It was going through that path that we developed the main concepts we have today about energy and it is that energy is a social good, it is a human right and not a commodity.
In this context I come here to expose our reasons for opposing the gas price hike and I’m here to explain why: because we lack the information of business’ costs which makes it impossible to know how much does gas actually cost taking into account its industrialization process.
Companies engaged in the extraction, transport and distribution of gas in Argentina represent the mosaic of economic interests which scrapped “Gas del Estado”: a company with no overlaps in the governing body, no overlaps of managers and shareholders, and no overlapping of benefits and profit rates as it appears to be today in Argentina’s gas industry.
It is the same situation with the electric and oil industries. A sum of interests that end up constituting the cost of operating the system. How much does it cost? That we don’t know. What we do know is how much they want to charge users, in order to hold and sustain an ineffective and privatized system which keeps the same provinces that had no gas in 1989, when it was a state-run system, still gasless. They wish to keep this system that didn’t even accomplish that, doesn’t currently guarantee the gas cylinders at low cost, and has 40% of Argentina’s population without gas.
Increasing gas prices without knowing the costs, as well as keeping an inconsistent, expensive and inefficient corporate structure, only leads to ensuring profits for companies, which is what they’re asking for. But it won’t lead to an efficient, generalized and universalized public service for all Argentines, which is what we lack.
From this point of view, the human right to energy is not being ensured, which is why we claim for recovering the sovereignty of our public utilities, companies and natural resources, and also demand that people be able to organize their natural resources and utilities, away from companies’ interests and away from the concept of energy as a commodity.
This is what we have come to express from the Federation of Energy Workers of Argentina (FETERA). Thank you very much.
To read it in Spanish click here.