CGT reactivates and tries to stop infighting

The trade unions confederation (CGT) will wake up from the internal paralysis it has been dragging since the beginning of this year to build bridges between conflicting sectors and sketch a common strategy against the rising inflation and poverty rates.

They will do so at a Wednesday meeting of the so-called “mesa chica” (decision-making group) formed by the largest sectors: the “heavyweights” from top service workers unions, the “independents” who have good dialogue with every administration, the Luis Barrionuevo group, and the leaders of the buses and train drivers trade unions.

The idea is to summon the Truckers union leader and CGT co-chairman Pablo Moyano’s area next, and then attempt to have their first Board of Directors meeting in months. 

Such movements are taking place in an estranged climate with the government due to their lack of response to the confederation’s economic claims for their healthcare providers and the uncertainty of the electoral scene. Most of the workers’ union groups who regard Economy Minister Sergio Massa as the main candidate of the ruling Frente de Todos (FdT) coalition believe the latest inflation numbers are corrosive. These sectors already lost interest in President Alberto Fernández months ago, and they look at Vice President Cristina de Kirchner with dread. 

This Wednesday’s meeting, which will be held at the headquarters of the National Civilian Personnel Union (UPCN), and those that will follow seem like a logical response. Faced with a general restlessness, they aim to forge a difficult harmony that could reposition the CGT as an important stakeholder for the ruling party to consider when devising economic policies and making campaign decisions.  

Three of the last times the confederation took part in institutional events resulted in disappointment. The presentation of a new phase in the Fair Prices program in early February ended with a rise in basic food basket prices  throughout the following 60 days. The agreement that was reached at the Minimum Wage Board, while considerably higher than Massa’s salary offer, ended up losing momentum due to Moyano’s questioning. And the fact that some union leaders were part of the FdT’s first political working group meeting never translated into greater access to other electoral debates with the main figures of the ruling party.    

On top of that, Massa’s promise of going up to the CGT’s headquarters to participate in a Board of Directors meeting has fallen into a vortex of suspicion and rescheduling.

The last one was last week, when the rumor that they would finally meet face-to-face with Massa was quickly dismissed due to the minister’s trip to the US. 

The sector’s main expectation for this potential meeting is to get a definition from the economy minister on a financial aid mechanism for union healthcare providers. The 2023 Budget established that it should be over 100 billion pesos, but there is increasing uncertainty about its enforcement.   

One of the five members of the confederation’s exclusive decision group explained over the weekend that once the more traditional sector can unify a discourse and then transmit the plan to Moyano, they will try to have “a first Board of Directors meeting [of the year] with the necessary rules and coherence to issue a CGT statement in these times of pulverized wages and increasing poverty.” 

When the “heavyweights” and the “independents” refer to their expectations of internal peacemaking efforts they mention Hugo Moyano (with whom they have secret but frequent conversations) even more than his oldest son Pablo, co-chairman of the organization together with Héctor Daer and Carlos Acuña. 

Originally published in / Translated by Agustín Mango


All Right Reserved.  Buenos Aires Herald