ROSARIO.- Pablo Reguera, leader of Union of Oil Workers and Employees (SOEA), has the key to a conflict that has paralyzed the ports of Gran Rosario for 19 days, where More than 75 percent of the country’s agricultural production is exported.
The historic general secretary of the oil producers has commanded that union from mid 90’s in a key economic zone, where they are today 22 agro-export terminals paralyzed, whose activity is decisive for the foreign exchange earnings to Argentina.
Reguera is a union leader whom the militants around him define as a traditional Peronist, close to the former labor minister Carlos Tomada, who also wove a relationship with Hugo Moyano, leader of the truckers, when he tried to disembark in the industrial cordon of Gran Rosario at the hands of Herme Juárez, the former secretary general of the United Argentine Ports Union (SUPA), who was imprisoned and is being processed for fraudulent administration in the management of the cooperative stevedores.
“The Minister of Labor (Claudio Moroni) has a great deal of this conflict. The Government should support the negotiation more decisively to finally reach an agreement. Nobody wants to spend the end of the year burning tires”, Reguera assured, in dialogue with THE NATION, one day before a new hearing is held on that portfolio to unblock the conflict.
Although it was later opened, that tripartite agreement with Moyano and Juárez in 2013 earned Reguera that his union added 30 percent more members and strengthened. “Mulled Wine”, As they call Juárez in the area, he was the promoter at that time of the agreement Agro-exporter Port Oilseed Complex (COPA), which meant that the outsourced plant operators, members of other unions such as Commercial Employees, UOCRA, Vigilantes, among others, They will start to charge the same as the oil workers, who received more than double the salary.
Each year, the pickets in front of the agro-export plants demanding compliance with the COPA agreement were led by the CGT San Lorenzo, at that time divided, but led by Juárez, which promoted the leader of the municipal union Edgardo Quiroga.
The companies preferred that the outsourced go to the agreement of the Aceiteros de Reguera union, with which they had a better relationship than with “Hot Wine”. As of 2014, the San Lorenzo Oil Workers and Employees Union grew stronger, absorbing outsourced workers and became a major player, almost on a par with Juárez, which handled the stowage of the ships.
At the political level in the area, Reguera supported the denounced senator Armando Traferri in the last elections and succeeded in getting Hugo López, the union’s assistant secretary, to occupy a seat on the Deliberative Council. Traferri is the leader of Nuevo Espacio Santafesino, a strong sector of provincial Peronism, exalted to Omar Perotti.
In addition to the Aceiteros union, Reguera leads CGT San Lorenzo through a man’s kidney, Jesus Monzón, closer to Kirchnerism. He is an active leader, with territorial work in the factories, who he was never in favor of long conflicts, without exit, precisely, like the one who stars now.
The union, which has about 3,500 members, is experiencing internal tensions due to the decision to join the union strategy of the Federation of Workers of the Oleaginoso Industrial Complex, Cotton Ginners and Related of the Argentine Republic, which it heads Daniel Yofra, a leader who has a different profile than Reguera, closer to the left than traditional Peronist unionism.
Last Friday the social leader traveled to that area Juan Grabois, who participated in one of the pickets along with the other union sector that stars in this “historic” strike: the Federation of Oil Producers.
Before the pandemic broke out, Reguera was embroiled in a scandal, after the repressor Pedro Rodríguez, convicted in 2013 for crimes against humanity, asked to start his temporary releases from jail to go to work as a legal advisor to the union led by Reguera, that he endorsed that request in a formal letter requested from the prosecution. “I cannot judge everyone by their past,” explained the union member at that time, who earned the rejection of human rights organizations in the region.
Reguera heads the toughest position in the current union conflict. According to sources familiar with the negotiations consulted by THE NATION, Reguera rejects the terms of the call “pandemic bonus”, that is proposed to grant workers who continued to work during social, preventive and compulsory isolation.
“It is unfair that this bonus is not collected by all workers”, he pointed. This bonus does not reach those workers who for health reasons did not attend the plants. The guilds ask that this bonus be 100.000 pesos, while the companies proposed 60,000.
There are also differences with the closing of the salary increase. The Federation of Oil Producers claims by 2021 a basic salary of 93,000 pesos and they intend that this payment be a one-time payment, not as proposed by CIARA, which it proposed in two installments. The agreement is closer with this union sector than with Reguera, sources said, hours before a new hearing is held this Tuesday at the Ministry of Labor of the Nation.
The dilemma that appears on the horizon is that companies are going to discount the days of unemployment, so it is possible that the discounts are more important in the worker’s pocket than the bonus they claim. Due to this problem, internal differences within SOEA appear on whether to maintain the measure or not. Reguera was never a supporter, according to union sources, of such extensive strikes that later it is difficult to get out.
The strike depopulated the routes near the ports with trucks loaded with grain. Producers stopped shipping their production until a conflict that is close to overcoming the historic 25-day strike in 2015, carried out by the Federation of Aceiteros, is resolved.
“Here a devaluation and a reduction in the costs of the industry are being played out,” said Reguera, who adheres to the Federal Workers Stream, headed by the bank Sergio Palazzo.
According to the criteria of