After the first fortnight of April, there are companies in Córdoba that have not yet been able to pay their workers the salary corresponding to March, due to the effect on economic activity of the social isolation arranged to stop the Covid-19 virus.
The most committed are in the hotel, gastronomy, metallurgical, logistics and small business sectors. But in each economic sector there are firms with some type of salary delay, according to a survey carried out by The voice between business chambers and unions.
The outlook varies depending on the type of activity and the impact the quarantine had on its sector.
But in all the same concern grows about where the funds will come to pay the salaries corresponding to April, in a context of sales reduced to a minimum or business that in the first days of May they will have spent a month and a half with their doors closed .
The most complicated
Fernando Faraco, executive director of the Córdoba Hotel Business Gastronomic Association, assured that the vast majority of firms in the sector “have had problems canceling March, and they have done so by paying a percentage.”
This is a segment that remains idle and, although the restaurants found an outlet through the delivery, home delivery only contributes between 10 and 20 percent of the usual income of these businesses.
Meanwhile, 90 percent of the logistics companies did not finish paying in March, according to Rolando Pérez, manager of the Business Chamber of the Autotransporte de Cargas de Córdoba (Cedac).
“Very few companies have succeeded, only those that are working in an almost normal way, such as the transport of milk. At the national level, the Federation (of Cargo Transport Business Entities) has already informed (Hugo) Moyano that April salaries will not be able to be paid, ”he added.
Equally complicated are the metallurgical and auto parts companies, due to the paralysis in the automotive terminals. The secretary general of the Unión Obrera Metalúrgica (UOM), Rubén Urbano, stressed that several companies did not cover March salaries, citing situations of “force majeure” or credit delays promoted by the national government. And he takes it for granted that there will be problems to face the first fortnight of April.
In this regard, the president of the Córdoba Chamber of Metallurgical and Components Industries, Eduardo Borri, pointed out that between 10 and 20 percent of companies “are having difficulties to finish paying.”
This is repeated in the rest of the productive sector, as explained by the head of the Industrial Union of Córdoba (UIC), Marcelo Urribarren.
“There are firms that did not finish paying the salaries or made payments on account. The solution is not the loan, but the wage subsidies that are raised through the Afip assistance program, but you have to see how it is executed, because it is not yet known that any have been given, “said the leader industrial.
Other items, which present a better outlook, also have a portion of companies that have not finished paying the March salary, as is the case with commerce. “Almost all sectors finished paying, most with loans taken at the Banco de Córdoba (Bancor), in the Nation and in other private entities, there are only delays in businesses of less than 25 employees,” explained José Viale, president of the Córdoba Chamber of Commerce.
And he added: “The problem is how the April wages will be paid; that is why we are asking the union to advance a crisis agreement for those who remain closed, which will allow them to pay part of their salary without social charges. ”
A little more involved was the commerce of the interior, where many SMEs paid their salaries “in installments”, according to Ezequiel Cerezo, president of the Commercial Federation of Córdoba (Fedecom).
At auto dealerships, the picture is similar. “Between the credit and what was in the bank, most of them have already finished paying their salaries. The problem is going to happen in May, because now the after-sales area can be opened with a smaller team of people and delivering spare parts at home, but that is not going to make up the box of businesses, “clarified sources in the sector who asked reservation.
What happened in dealerships was corroborated by the secretary general of the Union of Automotive Transport Mechanics and Allies (Smata), Antonio Quintana, who, on the other hand, highlighted that the automotive terminals covered all the salary obligations, despite having closed its gates.
Another sector that finished canceling March and the first fortnight of April were the agricultural machinery factories, which began to suffer breakdowns of stock for the lack of activity in the agropartist sector, according to Borri.
Salaries in construction and real estate were also paid. In the sector dedicated to public works, “the situation will be very different in April if an agreement to reduce wages is not reached with the union,” said Luis Lumello, president of the Córdoba delegation of the Argentine Chamber of Construction.
The developers, for their part, had some type of problem to pay wages, but managed to pay them, according to the head of the Business Chamber of Urban Developers of Córdoba (Ceduc), Pablo Balián.
For his part, Agustín Tea Funes, at the head of the Córdoba Chamber of Real Estate Brokers (Cacic), said that for the moment they suffered no problems because rents still support the structures, despite little support from the banking sector.
Both developers and real estate agents joined complaints from other sectors about the inability to access the credit support that had to come through financial institutions.
According to Tea Funes, together with a network of SME companies, they are preparing a note to complain about the “default” of the banks that do not deliver the credits for payment of wages.
Afip requirement: Legal companies
They will have to identify all of their beneficiaries.
The Federal Administration of Public Income (Afip), through resolution 4,697 / 20, established yesterday that legal entities (companies, civil associations, foundations and mutual funds) must report once a year who are their final beneficiaries. This information regime, he indicated, seeks to achieve progress in the area of transparency.
Unions, between what remains to be paid and the growing doubts for April
The industrial unions went through March with the difficulties of the beginning of the quarantine that paralyzed the activity and brought, in some cases, cut wages and suspensions.
Now, the concern of the majority is the outlook that opens in April as a consequence of the almost zero production in some areas.
The strongest shocks were evident this month in the transport system, where none of the companies that cover the interurban scheme completed wages and in which, for this reason, a measure by the Workers Association of the Automotive Transport Industry continues. (Aoita) indefinitely.
The case of the woodworkers is another example. “I do not know if it reaches 30 percent of the companies that managed to cover the total salaries (in March),” estimated Néstor Peralta, secretary of the Organization of the Working Union of the Wood Industry.
“In general, those who did not pay full salary were about five or six medium-sized companies,” said Daniel Oviedo, general secretary of the Glass and Allied Industry Workers Union (Soiva), on the other hand. In this sector, where there are suspensions, March wages were covered by up to 80 percent, according to the union survey.
“The problem is going to be April, beyond the fact that now we agree on the payment of 60 percent of the non-remunerative salary,” added Oviedo.
In the construction sector, the Uocra stated that “much less than 10 percent of companies individually agreed” other payment terms, but most covered March. Before the quarantine, the guild had complained about layoffs.
“The colleagues were fired so that they could withdraw the cease-work fund; in this way, the workers found some pesos and they (for the companies) were freed from paying them, ”said Néstor Chavarría, leader of Uocra.
For his part, Pablo Chacón, general secretary of the Trade Union Association of Commerce Employees (Agec), said that March was paid in full, and pointed out: “What worries us most is April.” In this sector, except for food sales, items such as clothing, footwear and electronics have fallen.
In the food industry, Héctor Morcillo, national trade union leader, pointed out the case of companies that work with ice cream parlors as the only ones in the branch that had problems. “But I know that we will have problems in April with the signatures of some products,” he anticipated.
* Favio Ré and Juan Leyes collaborated.
The original text of this article was published on 04/16/2020 in our printed edition.