UOCRA adhered its support to the initiative of Building and Wood Workers' International - BWI which, in the framework of the International Labour Organization (ILO) 105th Annual Conference held a protest against the International Federation of Football Association (FIFA) at the United Nations Square in Geneva, Switzerland, in order to denounce the bad labor practices against workers in the construction of stadiums and infrastructure for the World Cup to be held in Qatar. BWI and its affiliates, including UOCRA, reported breach of the fundamental rights of workers, slave work and trafficking of people. Also, they demanded FIFA and organizing countries of the World Cup to respect and uphold the rights of workers by construction companies and all those who in one way or another, are linked to the millionaire soccer business without complying with the conditions of decent work that protect workers.
"Argentines cannot be so irresponsible of trying to use the Pope’s speech to take advantage of any kind", said Gerardo Martínez
What does it mean for the Argentine trade union movement having a Pope from the country who speaks about terms such as "dignity of work" or "social inclusion"? It is a great pleasure since he shares with the trade union movement the same values and common objectives, which are linked to the concepts that the Argentine trade union leadership has always represented and defended. The dignity of labour and social inclusion are not only two of the flags that the Argentine labor movement professes and claims, but it also part of core of the so-called Social Doctrine of the Church, which Argentine unions earnestly adhere. What is the relationship that keeps the Argentine Trade Unions with him, now that he became a Pope? There are some differences in terms of form which are logical and have to do with formal and institutional aspects that his current endowment requires. However, in the personal treatment with those Union leaders who had the opportunity to share some meetings with him, having already become a Pope, he showed us the same humility, warmth, social sensitivity and political insight he always had. The Pope has place much emphasis on encouraging and promoting social movements, most of them organized outside the traditional trade unions. Can that be criticism to the historical trade unionism or a confirmation to their limits? I don't think so. Pope Francis promotes agreement and consensus among those sectors which either from the trade union movement, social organizations or political positions, share as a common goal the defence of social justice, inclusion, the culture of work, equal opportunities, access for all social sectors to decent levels of quality of life. Under these common premises, regardless ideological or methodological positions, he respects and recognizes those who work and strive for common goals: eradication of poverty or globalization of social justice. Pope Francis is constantly calling those who have social responsibilities to dialogue and cooperation. Couldn’t be his message a chance to overcome the divisions of Argentine Trade Unions? Certainly it is. And that is how most of trade unionists understand so. In fact, from Argentine General Confederation of Labour CGT RA, we are currently carrying out a process of Trade Union Unity which enjoys wide support. On the recent Labor Day, all sectors with trade union representation in the country agreed in a joint event. That was an unprecedented and historical fact, something that shows that, beyond logical differences that may exist, the defence of workers’ rights unifies and promotes a threshold of strategic consensus that are above the contextual differences that may exist. In a meeting that several Argentine trade unionists, had with the Pope back in 2013, Francis asked "responsibility of achieving peace" in the country. Do you still feel that call as a current call? It is true and holds absolute validity. Argentine society is paving a path towards peace, understood as the exercise of consensus and dissension of any kind, under the premise of respect for each other and their ideas. We have matured as a society, and leaders, those who have that responsibility, as well. From the trade union management we encourage, for example, the creation of a Council for Economic and Social Development, where the Government, Business and Trade Union representatives take part. Which should be the main objective? The commissioning of a tripartite space for debate where the needs of each sector be considered and argued to reach political consensus aimed at the common good. That would be a great step to ensure social peace, for example. The economic and social situation in Argentina is not going through a good period. You have reported layoffs and it seems discomfort is growing in several sectors, do you think that the Pope envisaged that situation when he had that detached audience with President Mauricio Macri? Truly I don't know and, out of respect for the investiture of the Pope and Mr. President Macri, it would be an inappropriate encroachment to comment in this regard. What is absolutely certain is that Pope Francis is very sensitive to workers situation and the most vulnerable sectors of society, both in Argentina and around the world. Nowadays, Argentina undergoes a situation of political and economic transition that is strongly affecting the middle and lower classes. That's why, from my point of view, we are calling on the current Government to ensure a fair transition: looking after employment, the purchasing power of salaries and quality of life. Where could the country's situation move towards? Could their concerns reach the Vatican or it is better to "leave Pope Francis alone" as some people suggest? The Pope has shown his interest and concern about the political and social situation of Argentina with the present and the previous Government. That does not mean that his attitude is intrusive and, by no means, he enables the political use of what he represents by any sector in my country. We have to be responsible and understand that Pope Francis has international relevance and the depth of his message is not only for Argentina, but for all around the world. Argentines cannot be so irresponsible of trying to use his speech to take advantage of any kind. Pope Francis should be considered for the huge transformation that is carrying out in the Catholic Church worldwide, achievements such as a rapprochement between the United States and Cuba, for his work in defense of the exiles in Europe, his intervention in the Middle East conflict, his strong belief to fight drug trafficking. Francis is the Pope for everyone, not only for Argentine people, although we are so proud for his representativeness. ANDRÉS BELTRAMO ÁLVAREZ VATICAN CITY
In the framework of the SRT Resolution 1642/09, activities of the Program aimed at companies with high accidents rates, continue in the City of Buenos Aires and the Province of Buenos Aires.
Within the framework of the Comprehensive Training Programme developed by UOCRA, CAMARCO and audited by SRT, training actions aimed at building workers in construction companies with high accidents rates continued. In this regard, training actions were held at UOCRA and Department of Health and Safety at Work (SST) headquarters in the City of Buenos Aires and in the works whose companies are carrying out railways improvement in the towns of Castelli and Lezama. Some contents developed are: - Prevention of Occupational Risks Act N° 24557 - Decree 911of Health and Safety for the Building Industry - Rights and Obligations of SRT, ART, Employers and Workers. - Personal Protective Equipment: items according to tasks and risks, wear and care. - Occupational Hazards at height: Use of PPE according to the task, lifeline and anchor points, stairs and working platforms. Working specific tasks of railways; movement of loads and others. Actions will be concentrated in 5 jurisdictions with the highest activity (City of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, Mendoza and Córdoba); also taking into account the proximity of works to reduce the commuting of workers and companies specific features.
Training actions in order to capacitate students about Working Conditions and Environment in the building industry started, aiming at reducing occupational accidents and diseases.
Within the framework of the National Training Programme on Health and Safety, UOCRA, through its Department of Health and Safety at Work (SST) organized the 1st. Talk of the year for students of Building Branch at Otto Krause Technical School facilities. Over 20 students attended the talk and the following topics were developed: - Occupational Health and Safety Act N°19587 - Prevention of Occupational Risks Act N° 24557 - Decree 911/96 of Building Industry and Superintendency of Occupational Risks [SRT] - Rights and obligations of SRT, ART, Employers and Workers. - Personal Protective Equipment: items according to tasks and risks, wear and care. - Occupational Hazards at height: Use of PPE according to the task, lifeline and anchor points, stairs and working platforms, according to current regulations Decree 911/96. Awareness and dissemination of protection and prevention measures in the different stages of works include a set of tools that must be known and applied by workers, technicians and professionals to reduce occupational accidents and improve working conditions.
• Building workers commemorate this day by ratifying our conviction that access to Work is a Right which dignifies the Man and gives him the chance to be the sole architect of his own destiny.