Unions, opposition ready for battle over controversial labour reform package
Staunch opposition to the government's proposed labour reforms among unionists and opposition political parties is set to open a path for former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to stride back into the Senate.
The Senate’s Labour and Welfare committee will this week meet to review the national government's controversial labour reform package. But key unionists and opposition leaders have said that they will work to stymie the proposed changes in the streets and in Congress.
Several union movements merged on the city of Luján on Sunday, including the head of the CGT Pablo Moyano and the CTA Hugo Yasky.
They expressed rejection of the government’s labour reform package and agreed to meet again this week in order to finalise the details of a march on Congress, which could coincide with the final vote, Clarín reported.
In a joint statement, the unions confirmed that they had maintained “formal dialogue” with the government over the reforms. However, “aside from some modifications” to the package the government continues trying to “obtain more benefits to big business and to guarantee interest payments on growing public debt”, they added.
The government, led in its negotiations with unions by Labour Minister Jorge Triaca, hopes to reduce compensation obligations for businesses as well as to implement changes to registration procedures and policies surrounding days-off. The reform would also allow workers to opt to retire at the age of 70 instead of the current 65.
Opposition in Congress
Sunday’s event in Luján was attended by political allies of former president and senator-elect Cristina Fernández de Kirchner Jorge Taiana and Héctor Recalde.
CFK still holds some weight within the traditionally divided union movement, particularly with Hugo Yasky’s CTA. Along with other left-leaning parties, her Citizens United movement has long expressed its intention to stymie the reform.
“They (the government) want to hide the plain and simple loss of rights behind the pompous word ‘reform’,” she told a crowd in Tucumán on Monday, as she prepares her move back into Congress where her movement is suffering an internal crisis over her leadership style and lack of public support for fallen comrades like Julio de Vido who is currently imprisoned and embroiled in several corruption scandals.
Also on Monday, lawmaker Graciela Camaño from the moderate Renewal Front said her bloc would also oppose the proposed changes which she labelled as “brutal”.