More than a year since its formal application to the Labour Ministry, the new subway workers independent union, having not received an answer from the government, is appealing for international solidarity to demand the Labour Ministry to fulfill its administrative function to register this new, democratically created union.
Last February, 1,774 Buenos Aires subway workers (99% of whom participated in the election) voted democratically to form an independent union. This will is based on Argentinean legislation (Law No. 23,551 of Trade Unions and the recent ruling by the Supreme Court’s Office) and the ILO Convention No. 98 which support the workers' right to create a union on their own.
We decided to create a new union, as we were tired of being ignored and attacked by our former union, the UTA. Since 2000, when we elected rank and file workplace representative delegates, we have suffered from a permanent lack of support from the UTA leaders for the decisions we took democratically in assemblies, as well as all kinds of violent aggressions, intimidation, harassment, bullying and physical attacks. One of those attacks, in the Bauen Hotel, while we were trying to hold a press conference, was documented on television. In August 2008, the UTA union leaders tried to expel our delegates, but they didn't succeed, thanks to the intervention of the Labour Ministry.
Despite this permanent hostility from the UTA, we are able to win the following in struggle:
- There have been no lay offs in the last 10 years
- A 6 hour work day
- An end to outsourcing
- Improved working conditions
- Curbed management abuses
- Created 1,500 new jobs
- Higher wages.
In September 2008, we formally presented the application of our new union, the Asociación Gremial del Subte y Premetro (AGTyS), in the Ministry of Labour’s Office, in compliance with all legal requirements. The deadline for the Ministry to register our association is several months past, hindering the legal recognition that we are entitled to as a union.
We resorted to the courts, which issued two resolutions urging the Ministry to issue the registration of our union, but so far nothing has been resolved. Therefore, we ask the population, unions, social organizations, and political parties to send mails to the Labour Ministry giving your support and sympathy, and demanding that they do their duty.
Buenos Aires Subway Workers and Delegates
Send messages to these email addresses:
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com (Ministro de Trabajo); firstname.lastname@example.org (Jefatura de Gabinete); email@example.com (Defensor del Pueblo)
We sympathize with Subway Workers of Buenos Aires city, who want to exercise their constitutional and democratic right to create their own union.
We also urge the Ministry of Labour to comply with the Trade Unions law and give immediate registration to the Asociación Gremial del Subte y Premetro (AGTyS).