The General Confederation of Workers survives government’s self destruction

Julian De Diego

Lawyer. Employment advisor of companies and chambers of business. Academic Counselor for Libertad y Progreso.

EL CRONISTA: The unprecedented process of political cannibalism displayed by the supposed government alliance has left the Workers’ General Confederation (CGT) alone, not by chance but as a result of causal effects within its specific functions.

When Perón was a military attaché at the Argentine embassy in Rome in the pre-war years (1936-39), he studied the corporatism advocated by Benito Mussolini, took the Italian scenario and applied it to a populist model shaped according to Argentine reality.

As to the Union model, there are three tools that were, and still are, fundamental:

  1. Union monopoly: There is only one possible union for each craft, trade or profession -basically the most representative Union-, in contradiction with the provisions of Article 14 bis of the National Constitution, recognizing workers’ right to form free and democratic unions with the sole requirement of mere registration in a special register;
  2. Legal status: It is granted by the Department of Labor or the Executive, which actually arbitrates any dispute between different groups claiming representation; and
  3. The approval of the industry-wide collective bargaining agreement consolidates the power of one particular Union per sector; this Agreement regulates activity, outside of Parliament, having the effects of substantive law.

Representation does not derive from workers’ will but rather from the Corporatist State that gains its power by allocating and assigning rights to the different segments of activity across the country, so that everything revolves around the decisions and plans of the Government.

This model had undergone several stages: There is the first, original stage that was promoted by Perón, where Unions embraced Peronism after siding with Socialism, Anarchy or Communism, and were in general local revolutionary minority groups that have had so much political and electoral failure. In this
context, the first law that combined these three tools, though quite rudimentarily, was passed.

There is the second stage, associated with the fall of Juan Domingo Perón and the subsequent opposition, de facto, anti-Peronist governments, and the search for an alternative way out.

There is the third stage, characterized by the consolidation of the model that curiously enough appeared under Raul Alfonsín administration. Back then Unions Act No. 23.551 was passed in a context of strong opposition by the CGT led by Saul Ubaldini to the radical government. This Act promoted Union monopoly like never before. Then came the privatizations under Menem administration, and an attempt to reshape the union model under De la Rúa, with his Labor Department Head, Mr. Flamarique.

And we are now at the fourth stage, where CGT and its different factions still keep their hegemony, supporting President Alberto Fernández, although the union model has been repeatedly challenged at the Supreme Court.

The Justicialist Party and its supporting factions have at least twelve or fifteen candidates, clearly under the leadership of Vice President Cristina Kirchner, who is currently confronting social groups and ignoring CGT.

As we can see, all the elements that help find a solution are constantly failing, especially due to the mistakes related to the cause and effect of the measures taken.

Argentine politics and economy are out of control, adrift, with great frustration, and a future that appears to be uncertain and totally unpredictable.

In a scenario like today’s, where the opposition in its different fronts is not proposing any alternatives to the current crisis, we will see the emergence of candidates who can offer an effective government plan and anti-inflationary coherent policies fostering development and sustainable growth.

Society in general is fed up with the announcements that usually clash with reality, and are often reduced to promises intended to positively influence public opinion. In general, most of the announcements are delusional, empty words, and most candidates do not know what they are talking about and do not have any reasonable technical strategy to find a solution to the existing problems.

Although the CGT is considered the only backbone for official policies without apparent disintegration, in which the government should have some expectations, it does not believe that it should contribute with specific proposals to combat inflation and promote economic reactivation and growth, in an international context that could be advantageous to Argentina if it does not waste opportunities.

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