[Marxism] Fwd: victory by BA metro workers

Michael Sims mjsbpmagen-mxmail at yahoo.fr
Sun Mar 6 08:54:31 MST 2005


Here you go, something to warm the cockles of the hearts of all activists!

-------- Original Message --------
Date: Sun, 6 Mar 2005 15:12:23 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: [UK Left Network] victory by BA metro workers


Comrades may be interested to know that metro workers
in Buenos Aires have just won a pay dispute
hands-down, winning rises of around 35%-44%.  I am
posting this article on the dispute, further material
on this dispute and other aspects of political
struggles in Argentina is available, in English, at
the website of the Partido Obrero:
http://www.po.org.ar .

Pat Gallacher
Co-ordinating Committee for the Refoundation of the
Fourth International

STRONG POLITICAL REPERCUSIONS

Triumph in the struggle of Metroví­as

DECISIVE, THE INDEFINITE STRIKE

The strike of the Metrovías workers, that caused a
commotion in the
city,
ended in a resounding triumph. Not only because of the
amount of the
increase in wages (see box), but also because of the
political
repercussions
for the whole workers movement.

Methods

Class-conscious methods prevailed.  The assemblies of
workers of each
one of
the five subway lines voted all the steps to be taken
during the
conflict.
They voted an indefinite strike. It was an active
strike: workers set
up
picket lines in the stations at the end of each line
and the trains,
manned
by supervisors, weren't allowed to leave the station.
The methods of
the
piqueteros movement were contagious in the struggle of
the employed
workers.

The government’s policy of wearing down the strike
failed

The government committed itself to a policy of wearing
down [the
strike]. ‘It
operated’ in each phase to introduce a wedge and to
divide the shop
stewards
committee.  Thus it achieved a discontinuity in the
struggle initiated
in
December (during the holiday season), putting the
negotiations on stand
by
for over a month, until January 18 (during vacations).
In January it
attempted to extend the negotiations until March.  But
from below come
the
demand of not accepting any more delays.  The bosses
had had more than
a
month ‘to think’.
Workers voted in the beginning not to obey more
‘obligatory
conciliations’ (arbitration).  When the steps of the
partial strike
turned
into a total strike and it was starting to become an
indefinite strike,
workers assemblies and shop steward committee rejected
a proposal to
stop
strike action for 24 hours in order to open a path
towards negotiations
with
the pretext of ‘relaxing’ the tensions with
‘public opinion’.

Palacios and the Moyanoist bureaucracy

UTA’s bureaucracy neither initiated the strike nor
moved a finger in
its
support.  It used the union's official status to
participate in all the
ministerial meetings, waiting to be able “to put a
stick in the
spokes”.
Moyano asked workers not to be excessive in their
demands.
Because of the deepening of the working struggle
(indefinite general
strike),
the government and the bosses had to yield. Sympathy
with the strike
was
growing among the working class population.  The
adhesions of
solidarity
multiplied and developed a climate of salary agitation
in the workers
movement.
A high level political operation was planned to stop
the strike.  On
Wednesday
night, on TV, the bureaucracy said the strike had
ended. The workers
assemblies, on the other hand, had demanded that UTA
(Argentine
transport
workers union) launch a strike in support of
Metrovias. Palacios closed
the
conflict because he was afraid the bus drivers of the
UTA could become
“infected”.
Palacios’s signature, behind the backs of the shop
stewards
committee, was
energetically repudiated by workers assemblies of all
the subway lines
and
workshops. Workers decided to maintain the general
strike until their
delegates were officially notified of the bosses
offers, and took the
affidavits down to the end of the line stations.
When the reduction of the labor day to 6 hours was
imposed, the
bureaucracy
signed, behind the backs of the workers and their shop
stewards, the
obligation of one hour of overtime to be paid at 50
percent. The
refusal of
the assemblies and the continuation of the fight
buried this maneuver.
The same thing happened when the Palacios bureaucracy
signed the
acceptance of
the ticket vending machines, that were to replace the
workers in
ticket
sales.  The assemblies and the strike obliged to those
contracts to be
torn
up.
With that experience, the workers assemblies shouted
down the
representatives
of the bureaucracy and voted to maintain the strike.
In the first “affidavit” (a sheet of paper)
brought down by the
bureaucracy in
the early morning hours of Thursday, the payment of
the daily wages
unpaid
during the strike did not figure, neither was it made
retroactive to
January
1. The assemblies demanded at the top of their lungs
that these gains
had to
be included.  In the final affidavit approved on
Thursday afternoon by
the
assemblies, these demands had been included.
The bosses had presented a clause of ‘social
peace’ for two years.
Also the
introduction of 76 vending machines. Both offers were
flatly rejected.
Instead of ‘social peace’, the affidavit allows
for the reopening
of demands
for wages in the event of an increase in the cost of
living.
“For Palacios to watch on TV”, was the defiant
chant of the workers
in the
assemblies that decided to stop the strike, almost 24
hours later.
Palacios
failed in his objective of neutralizing the shop
stewards committee.

Rafael Santos


Yahoo! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:
     http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UK_Left_Network/








More information about the Marxism mailing list