“The situation of workers in our country is really worrying,” said Daniel Yofra, secretary general of the Federation of Workers of the Oilseed Industrial Complex and Cotton Ginners of Argentina, when he left for the world of work in 2022. “When you analyze the economic situation, you only look at inflation and you don’t look at the low wages that exist”Created a field leader that reached a national parity record that brought the starting salary above 319 thousand pesos.
“Union leaders today have an obligation to stand up in the fight for increased wages and government-controlled inflation”He assured that with 42% poor people and even workers working below the poverty line, the argument that wage hike is inflationary has been overturned.
“We had a very good increase compared to the national salary average, which is very low”, pointed out Yofra and assured that in this context, the strategy of discussing equality on percentage basis becomes ineffective. “The percentages are useless if the floors are low,” said the leader, adding that the oil workers’ achievement was also the result of unionizing with other unions such as the San Lorenzo Oil Workers’ Union (SOA).
In an inflationary context where purchasing power is eroding, a new buzz dynamic is important for Yofra. “First you have to conceptually determine what you are looking for when talking about salary”Yofra said and was emphatic about the place he was hired from the federation: “We believe that pay is determined by the worker’s need,” he said.
There are unions that have achieved more than 100% pay increases this year, but “the percentage doesn’t mean anything if the pay is too low,” he said, and hailed the federation’s historic achievement in protecting the minimum wage. remembered. Labor Contract Law and Article 14 of the National Constitution comply with the requirements established by BIS.
This dynamic of negotiations that began in 2004 and allowed oil producers to “prevent poor workers in rich companies”, as Yoffra put it, was the advice of the late labor lawyer Horacio Zamboni, who “taught us not to be alone forever”. In this dispute and this way of discussing income infects the rest of the unions”, the leader recalled.
A step in this direction was the joint talks with SOEA. “Unity in battle yields many results, and if it cannot be achieved on a general level, we must at least attempt it field by field.Yofra asked.
“When we look at our equity today and the growth we’ve achieved, we want to remember that when we started we worked for the same companies that we have now, but we were poor,” the oil leader said. Said to state that it is important to have a clear horizon of struggle “When workers know what it is for them to live with dignity and fight for it, then power is given by conscience,” he insisted.
Another issue is the possibility of companies facing wage restructuring, as received by the federation. In view of this, Yofra was emphatic: “If someone cannot pay it, they have to present the balance that justifies it,” he said, adding that it is a right that labor organizations have.
Yoffra are staunch defenders of trade union democracy and the training of union cadres, as well as transferring the experience passed down from the union to others. “Hope other unions do not praise the wages we receive, but start applying similar formulas to calculate it based on the labor contract law and established by the national constitution”, said the leader.
Also, he explained that the federation began working with other unions that are not within that organization, although they are in the field. “At some point we as union leaders are going to have to put aside our differences and think unity is the way to go,” he explained.
That is the challenge he outlined for 2023. “Leaders would do well to start leveraging their organizations and the tools they have”He added and added that “probably next year we’ll see some backlash from unions in general or there will be a bigger struggle trying to get back what was lost in wages.”