The Greater Buenos Aires Area meat sector has decided to go on strike again and stick it where it really hurts this time: in our hearts.
Starting at midnight tonight, Argentina’s love affair with meat may have to go on hold for 48 hours in the City of Buenos Aires and the surrounding suburbs area while the Meat Workers Union of the Greater Buenos Aires Area and the Southern Zone of Buenos Aires Province (SICGBA) (yes, that really is its name) protests layoffs and inadequate wages in the sector.
“There could be meat and chicken shortages,” union leader Silvio Etchehún told Radio 10.
According to press reports, we may also see the price of meat go up in the next few days since butcher shops may not be replenished while the strike is ongoing. Cue a sappy Enrique Iglesias ballad to mend your broken heart.
Etchehún said the strike will be protesting the fact that between “5 and 10 percent of workers” have been suspended or have left work of their own accord because of the “complicated situation the sector faces,” and that there have been “200 layoffs alone at the meat-packing plant Ciaber in the Province of Buenos Aires.”
Last week, meat workers and workers from poultry company Cresta Roja protested the same conflict and demanded that 2,500 laid-off workers be re-hired. Workers from the company have symbolically chained themselves to the door of the Ministry of Finance for the past six days in further protest.
Downsizing is a result of dramatic increases in utility bills on gas, water and electricity that affect slaughter houses and meat freezers, Etchehún sustained.
The sector is still demanding, among other things, the rehiring of laid-off workers and an increase in government-allocated “productive recovery funds” from AR $6,000 to AR $10,000 per month, according to local sources.
In the meantime, maybe we can make up for lost time and eat some vegetables. On Anthony Bourdain’s season finale of Parts Unknown, that aired on June 12, he mentioned the lack of greenery in most meals consumed in the City of Buenos Aires.
Let’s make him proud…at least for the next 48 hours. Then it’s back to meat.