Argentina | AGREEMENT


With Norberto Latorre

UTHGRA obtains important

wage increase


The Union of Tourism, Hotel and Food Service Workers of Argentina (UTHGRA) successfully negotiated a more than 30 percent wage increase. SIREL spoke with Norberto Latorre, the union’s finance secretary and president of the Global Committee of the IUF’s Hotel, Restaurant, Catering and Tourism Workers Professional Department (HRCT), who gave further details on this gain and assessed the current state of tourism activities in the country.



-How high was the raise obtained in the collective bargaining agreement?

-We successfully negotiated a 34 percent salary increase for this year, based on the cost of the basic food basket and other family expenses such as clothing, housing and education.


We regularly issue statistical data, in conjunction with the Confederation of Food Industry Labor Associations (CASIA), that allows us to negotiate on the basis of the actual current cost of life.


The raise will be incorporated in stages as follows: a 10 percent raise with retroactive effect to May of this year, which will be paid for that month only; 15 percent in the month of June; another 5 percent in July; 2 percent in September and another 2 percent in October. In November, we will receive an additional 5 percent and in January 2012, the remaining 5 percent.


You have to take into account that we represent workers who work across the full range of establishments, from one star to five star establishments, so the basic salary and extras depend on where the worker is employed and where the establishment is located. At the lowest end, workers earn about 415 US dollars, and at the highest end, workers earn some 1,335 US dollars.


-How were this year’s negotiations conducted?

-Pretty smoothly, although we had some difficulties at the beginning. But after the mandatory conciliation, which was mediated by the Labor Ministry, employer representatives accepted the agreement without the workers having to resort to actions to pressure them.


So we can say that a satisfactory agreement was achieved through dialogue.


The only pending issue is closing the negotiations with the large hotel chains, where we reached a partial agreement but are still negotiating.


-Did the effect of the volcanic ash on tourism activities impact negotiations?

-Yes, but only in the affected regions. In general terms, tourism activities during the period were quite good, which gave us an edge in negotiations.


The eruption of the Puyehue volcano in Chile resulted in the creation of a Monitoring Committee, which meets every 15 days to assess the situation of tourism in the south and has conducted solidarity actions, for example, in Villa La Angostura, where food and water were delivered to workers who were cut off.


The volcanic ash phenomenon also affected tourism coming into Buenos Aires, which is a stopover city, with 50 percent of reservations being canceled over the period in which the volcanic ash was spreading. But things are slowly going back to normal.


Right now, we’re making progress with employers, with the aim of finding positive solutions for all in the short term.



From Montevideo, Amalia Antúnez


July 14, 2011





  UITA - Secretaría Regional Latinoamericana - Montevideo - Uruguay

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