Following the violent eviction of the already laid off workers from the Pepsico factory in the Province of Buenos Aires yesterday, the CGT umbrella union announced it will throw a march, set to take place August 22.
“We hold the Executive branch responsible if a disgrace happens in the country. Social problems are not solved with police batons, but at the negotiating table,” said one of the union’s Triumvirate member, Juan Carlos Schmid. He went on to say that another of the march’s goal will be to protest against the Macri administration’s economic policies. The union’s head authorities will meet on July 28 to draft a document outlining their grievances and motivations.
Regarding the incidents that took place in the Pepsico plant yesterday, Schmid said that “naturally, we have transmitted our concern to the government, because we believed they could have used other methods to avoid this sad image, regrettable, close to tragedy, of Argentina.”
Moreover, he requested to “all the political spectrum who is trying to get a public office in the upcoming electoral process” to express themselves about yesterday’s incidents. Leaders of left-leaning political parties went to the plant in person to support the workers, while other representatives of the opposition criticized the government’s decision as well.
In contrast, government representatives from President Mauricio Macri down defended their decision. According to Clarín, the President yesterday called the Buenos Aires Province’s Security Minister, Cristian Ritondo, and compelled him to be “firm” at the time of acting. “He told me not to answer to violence [from the laid off workers], but to act,” he reportedly said.
Moreover, Labor Minister Jorge Triaca assured that the government “acted in accordance with the law.” He also cited this as being one of the main reasons for the march, considering that the union the laid off workers belong to got the company to pay them “a severance package as twice as high as what they would have got if fired under other circumstances.”
According to press reports, 450 of the 550 laid off workers accepted the Pepsico’s settlement offer, while the remaining 100 who didn’t are the ones who took over the company building yesterday.