Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tactics such as these have been tried many times before in public service situations, and variants may also be applicable to industries in the private sector. As a pressure tactic to get the attention of management while, at the same time, gaining massive public support they have no equal. Here's the story about one recent such instance from the pages of the British site LibCom.
Subway workers hold 'no fare' protest and strike in Buenos Aires:
This week employees on the Buenos Aires subway freed turnstiles for two hours in a move to press the government to grant legal status to their recently created trade union as well as taking strike action.

According to Argentine law only one union on each trade or activity can be granted legal status and therefore, participate in wage bargaining or legally call for a strike.

The spokesman of the workers, NĂ©stor Segovia, said in a radio interview that the union “is demanding that the Labor Ministry grants legal status” to the subway workers union, whose workers last year voted in favour of creating a new union as a result of differences with the UTA transport workers union which now gathers all workers in the transport activity.

UTA claims the initiative would go against the law, as it goes against their interests.
Nevertheless, a ruling of the Supreme Court last year paved the way for changes in the law in a move to democratize labor unions.

Another union representative, Roberto Pianelli, later in the week told the press that workers will also be taking strike action which will interrupt service on all subway lines from noon till 2pm, but said that workers wanted to “avoid” the strike and that they waited up to the last minute to call it off.

Pianelli said that if before noon they get a phone call to begin solving the problem of the legal recognition of a trade union of subway workers independent from the larger Transportation Workers Union (UTA) then they may reconsider. However, the delegate never received that call and the strike began at 12 pm sharp on all six lines of Buenos Aires city subway.

Company officials said the strike would affect 160,000 passengers.

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