Uruguay goes through a month of June full of union mobilizations and strikes from different labor sectors that demand salary improvements, among other demands, with an eye on the rendering of accounts that the Government of Luis Lacalle Pou (center-right) must deliver before the 30th.
with a general strike “in defense of quality work and salary” convened for July 7 in sight, the unions that make up the Uruguayan trade union center, PIT-CNT, began this June to make their demands heard at a key moment.
Meanwhile, the coalition government is working to present a new Accountability billin which the Administration reviews the budget allocations of the last year and adjusts some, if deemed necessary.
In the streets the atmosphere will be “moved”The president of the Federation of Public Health Officials (FFSP), Martín Pereira, assures the Efe Agency, who remarks that the list of workers called to paralyze activities is long and covers both public and private.
Dozens of people protest against the salary cut and the cut in rights during a march today in Montevideo. Photo EFE
On the streets
In addition to the stoppages in transport and industry carried out on June 6 and 9, there will be, for example, one of state officials scheduled for this Thursday, with the express support of private companies in the health sector, and another of the construction workers, on the 29th.
The closest is the strike in education that, explains the general secretary of the PIT-CNT and reference of the FUM teachers’ federation, Elbia Pereira, responds to a heartfelt salary loss in the sector.
“For two years now, officials from the different sectors of education have been losing purchasing power according to our salaries,” he says, noting that, although the government “recognizes” the situation, “unfortunately” has not put the matter “on the table” with a view to accountability.
Public officials carry out a strike “against the salary cut and the cut in rights. Photo EFE
While denouncing that education deals with overcrowded classrooms in the face of a cut of two million dollars, Pereira claims that the one taken by the authorities “is not the way forward” and stresses that on the day of the strike there will be a “great march.”
Along the same lines, the president of the FFSP points out that this Thursday the health workers, applauded in the hardest months of the pandemic, They will march for job improvements and he says he expects massive support “from the citizens themselves”, since this also concerns him.
Likewise, he hopes that the Government will react and provide some response to the workers.
“We are talking about the workers (…) who in the midst of the pandemic and the crisis banked (maintained) all the services (…), so we are convinced that, after the great mobilizations, the government is going to have to listen and change its position“, he stresses.
Half a month before the deadline for the authorities to deliver their proposal to the Uruguayan Parliament, the uncertainty exceeds the forecasts, since, for the economist Gabriela Mordecki, the complex inflationary picture may play a key role.
It is that, he says, although the Government announced “an advance in the recovery of public salaries and pensions”, it is not known if it will later impose a discount that implies a salary recovery “much smaller”.
On the other hand, the director of the Institute of Economics of the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Administration of the University of the Republic welcomes “big numbers” of public accounts.
As the Executive fulfilled its fiscal deficit goal, for Mordecki the unknown is whether he will bet, as in previous years, on “zero spending” or, already with the Coronavirus Fund of about 700 million scheduled from the pandemic off the table, it will enable greater spending in sensitive areas, such as education.
From another point of view, the political scientist Antonio Cardarello sees the opposition, whose main force is the Broad Front (FA, left), which governed Uruguay between 2005 and 2020 and today is chaired by the former leader of the PIT-CNT Fernando Pereira, on fertile ground to make its weight countas a key ally of the trade union movements.
According to Cardarello, the FA “historically” knew how to use economic issues as the center of the debate and, after a difficult start after its 2019 electoral defeat, arrives in 2022 “reinforced” in its character as an opposition forceso you can use the moment in your favor.
On the other hand, for the academic, the Government has a clear “road map” and remains “attentive” to political changes in a scenario in which must “give a certain answer” to the mobilized workers if he wants this to result in the long run in “electoral probabilities that can improve” in the race towards the 2024 presidential elections.