The days of quarantine are not crossed in the same way in all areas. Although there is a generalized impact, the contrasts between the sectors considered essential and those that are not in that universe also stand out. They are separated by an invisible line, although tangible in its effects.
A chain that has come to a standstill is metalworking, especially the links in the automotive sector.
The plants of Fiat Chrysler Automobile (FCA), Renault, Nissan and Iveco, and Volkswagen’s box factory do not work. Only its emergency maintenance and security teams are active, in addition to the managerial and administrative teams, but with home office.
“There are days that we have up to three or four virtual conferences,” says the executive of one of the terminals, minutes after disconnecting from the corporate network that had him in dialogue with the company’s CEO, in Buenos Aires.
The entrance of the trucks was also stopped. During the last long weekend, the factories received the transports that were traveling and then suspended all orders.
This passed without anesthesia to the providers. Isabel Martínez, autopartist and head of the automotive commission of the Association of Metallurgical Industrialists of the Argentine Republic (Adimra), warns that the suspension of activities in the productive areas of the suppliers is total.
“Everything is paralyzed and the problem is that we do not have a forecast of when it will restart. Today the priority is wages; and without sales, companies will not be able to cope with payments. This is worse than in 2001, ”he lamented.
Through Adimra and together with the Argentine Industrial Union (UIA), the auto parts chain has been asking the national government, as well as the province and the municipality, for concrete measures to prevent the payment chain from being cut.
Martínez, together with his colleagues from the Córdoba Chamber of Metallurgical Industries and Components, yesterday analyzed this problem, meeting virtually through the Zoom application.
In as much, from the regional Córdoba of the Smata, the union of the sector, clarify that the decree that declared the sanitary emergency and the resolution of the Ministry of Labor that regulated the labor aspects while the emergency lasts establishes that the worker must receive his salary in the form intact.
Still, what worries the union the most is what will happen when the restriction is lifted. In the automotive chain there is a phrase that everyone repeats: “In a crisis, the sector is the first to fall and the last to recover.”
“At the points of sale, the situation is similar to that of factories. Classrooms are closed and shifts for service they are being rescheduled, ”said spokesmen for the Association of Automotive Dealers of the Argentine Republic (Acara).
In addition, although there are sellers who have contact with customers by phone or virtually, sales cannot be made, since the Automotive Registry delegations do not work either.
In fact, Acara closed its sales statistics last week, with a patent drop of 60 percent in Córdoba, compared to the same period last year.
The most obvious counterpart is the one associated with agri-food. It is that already in the beginning there is a biological factor that conditions the rest: in the field, the animals need to be fed and the crops, harvested. Dairy cows are the best example: yes or yes they must be milked daily.
But that does not mean that everyone’s responsibilities to prevent the spread of the coronavirus are evaded in the chain: from the dairy to the gondola, all the links have not stopped, but have adjusted their protocols to operate with the least possible risk.
Gustavo Prataviera, from the Chamber of Dairy Producers of Córdoba (Caprolec), assured that in the dairy farms “normal work is being done, but with the precautions of this context, taking precautions not to crowd, to avoid close contact with truckers when They come to collect the milk or with the contractors who carry out the fodder, and doing constant disinfection and hand washing. ”
The dairy plants, meanwhile, are also processing milk normally. Some, even, with more demand. And also with adjustments to guarantee sanitary conditions that minimize the risk of contagion of Covid-19.
“There are alterations or potholes around when there are operators who are within some risk group or who have indications of a disease. In these cases, they are sent to their homes and must be replaced by personnel who may not be suitable for the task, “said Javier Baudino, vice president of the Association of Small and Medium Dairy Enterprises (Apymel).
Another industrialist from the center of Córdoba, who requested a reservation, also acknowledged that they have had cases of employees who do not want to continue working due to the risk of contagion and who are allowed to home office, when possible, to avoid conflictive situations within plants.
In general, the protocols that companies comply with are varied: for example, those who deliver merchandise do not enter the factory or truckers do not get off the vehicle when they must go to drop off or pick up products.
In general, the food industries must already meet high sanitary standards to guarantee the safety of what they produce. Instead, companies warn that the main problem is the municipalities that hinder the passage of trucks.
In the bottom link of the chain, which is the shops, an important aspect is that the flow of consumers has begun to decrease, after verifying that there are no supply problems.
“As the days go by, they are seeing that the gondolas are replenished. At the beginning, there was a collection of long-lasting merchandise and now they are only doing the daily supply in neighborhood stores, ”said Vanesa Ruiz, manager of the Córdoba Warehouse, Self-Service and Retail Merchants Center.
Some businesses offer delivery. “It is a channel that is being activated, especially for older adults. Businesses exchange phones and set delivery times so that they do not have to leave their homes, “added Ruiz.
Agricultural machinery: Does not move
The Argentine Chamber of Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers (Cafma) reported that the sector must comply with the isolation provided by the national government. The entity had asked the State to clarify the scope with respect to some tasks that manufacturers normally fulfill and that could be included within the exceptions, such as activities related to agricultural production, but the official response was negative. .
The original text of this article was published on 03/26/2020 in our printed edition.