More companies seek to negotiate salary cuts

While the Covid-19 quarantine lasts, companies and unions in Córdoba negotiate a labor scheme that includes wage cuts to keep jobs.

By implementing social, preventive and compulsory isolation, the national government made it mandatory to pay all of the pocket wages. Almost a month after this measure, and with production slowed, automotive, auto parts and commerce, among other sectors, ensure that it is impossible to sustain jobs.

Last week, the Automotive Transport Mechanics and Allied Union (Smata) signed an agreement with Renault Argentina to pay 60 percent of salary, in exchange for maintaining the workforce until January 31, 2021.

Now, 20 companies linked to the activity are looking for the same thing. The union led in Córdoba by Antonio Quintana negotiates agreements with Fiat Chrysler Automobile (FCA) for 75 percent of salary and stability until June; with Volkswagen, for 70 percent and continuity until July; and with Iveco, for 70 percent and the maintenance of jobs until December. The same conversation started with their suppliers.

“We argue with all the factories because for them the easiest is to shrink. For the union, the priority is for the worker to continue in the company, because this ensures income and social work, “said Quintana.

Meanwhile, the Association of Metallurgical Industrialists of the Argentine Republic (Adimra) and other business entities in the supplier sector held a meeting yesterday in Buenos Aires with the Unión Obrera Metalúrgica (UOM).

“We are all in the same boat and we must try to find a way to sustain our jobs”, assures Eduardo Borri, president of the Chamber of Industrial Metals and Components of Córdoba (Cimcc), which is part of Adimra.

In Córdoba, the UOM demands the payment of 100 percent of the pocket salary and the payment of the social work and the union contribution.

This was raised yesterday within the scope of the Ministry of Labor in Córdoba before the autopartista Faurecia, supplier of Toyota and FCA, among others, who intends to lower wages. The negotiation will continue next Friday.

“We cannot sign any type of agreement that affects the rights of workers,” said the secretary general of the local UOM, Rubén Urbano.

Commerce

In the commercial sector, the situation is similar. Pablo Chacón, head of the Gremial Association of Commerce Employees, acknowledged that different business chambers raised the problem of paying wages. “We have a direct route with the Ministry of Labor of the Nation and we promised to help companies manage the announced aid to pay wages, especially the Productive Recovery Program (Repro). It is speeding up and they are going out. When they are approved, they are for six months, ”assured union leader.

Chacón believes that agreements can be made for companies to pay 65 or 70 percent of wages, and the rest is completed with Repro, so the worker does not feel it. “For us, the most important thing is the maintenance of employment,” he added.

In this zero-income scenario, the main concern of the trade is how to cover April wages. At a minimum, the application of cuts of some kind is considered, in order to prioritize work continuity.

“We opened a conversation with the union to see alternatives, such as paying a percentage of the salary as non-remunerative, for example,” explained Miguel Hames, president of the Chamber of the Footwear Industry in Córdoba.

The province’s Chamber of Wholesale Merchants and Industrialists, which brings together 100 SMEs, also started talks with the union to see how to pay wages. “Within the Chamber, 100 percent of member companies assure that they will not be able to pay salaries,” said Héctor Luna, vice president of the entity.

Other negotiations

The fall in activity has already forced some unions to renegotiate the payment of wages.

One of the first to agree to this reduction in wages was the Oil Workers Union, which agreed to pay 68 percent of the basic for those employees who remain at home.

The activity of the stations is a service considered essential in the context of quarantine; however, the drop in fuel sales caused some businessmen to activate suspensions until the union promoted the agreement.

In construction, the drop in activity is notable. The Construction Workers Union (Uocra) reported seven thousand Cordovan workers without activity during the quarantine, of the 11 thousand employed by the private sector. These workers collect a layoff fund, but the uncertainty about how long the layoff can extend worries unionists.

The Asociación Obrera Minera (Aoma) signed an agreement with some stone and cement companies to pay 70 percent of salaries for April, to avoid suspensions.

From the Union of Workers of the Glass and Related Industry (Soiva), they affirmed that unilaterally some companies began to pay 80 percent of the salary to their workers and that in other cases there are suspensions.

In the lumber industry, according to the union, there are several companies that have not paid the fortnight, especially in the provincial interior. “There are some employers who want to pay only for days worked and holidays, contradicting the government’s very clear position on wages,” said Néstor Peralta, organizing secretary of the union.

Aid to employers: Extension

On Friday the 9th, the Afip regulated Decree 332/2020 and extended the employer contributions to the Sipa (pension system) until June for the March period.

Procedure. Companies (any size) must register from 9 to 15, with a fiscal code, in the Emergency Assistance Program for Work and Production (ATP).

Between April 13 and 15. Total sales information must be completed from March 12 to April 12, 2019 and 2020. In addition, attach a file with the detail of each operation. Those who obtain the benefit will appear in the Registry System with the code “460- Benefit Decree. 332/2020 ”.

Maturities. The presentation of the affidavit of social security contributions (form 931) was postponed for three days, to April 16, 17 and 20, according to Cuit. Contributions and employer contributions must also be paid, except for Sipa, if the company was registered in the ATP and was benefited with the extension until June 16, 17 or 18.

Print edition

The original text of this article was published on 04/14/2020 in our printed edition.