Union leaders announced this morning that the Association of Unions for Subte and Premetro Workers (AGTSyP) will be striking this evening at 8 PM to protest the presence of asbestos – a known carcinogen – on B Line cars. Which means no subway service tonight.
Union officials told enelsubte.com, a news site focused on Buenos Aires’ metro system, that their goal is to have “society understand the dimensions of this problem that affect users and workers.”
The use, sale, and import of asbestos in Argentina has been prohibited since 2001 by two different resolutions from the Ministry of Health. Last week, city legislator Mariano Recalde of the Kirchnerite Unión Ciudadana party, requested a report on the presence of asbestos on the B Line, which was subsequently denied by the Vamos Juntos government coalition in the city.
Buenos Aires acquired the B Line cars, CAF 5000, from Madrid secondhand a few years ago. Madrid admitted last month that the retired cars indeed have asbestos in them. Even though the City of Buenos Aires government did not release an official report on the subte cars, Madrid did.
Another group of Spanish subway cars, CAF 6000, run through the B Line as well. In Spain, one of these cars was found to have asbestos, but the subte officials contend that none of the ones in Buenos Aires do. Union officials say that they cannot know for certain until there is an official report.
If you were planning on taking the subte home tonight, you should probably change your plans.