Fw: Strikers in Argentina ask for Solidarity

 From: "Earl Gilman" <giltapia at igc.org>
 To: eorkersdemocracy at yahoogroups.com
 Subject: Strikers in Argentina ask for Solidarity
 Date: Tue, Nov 20, 2001, 9:07 PM

 To Trade Union Organizations, Student Organizations, and Solidarity groups

 The ceramic workers of Neuquen (Republic of Argentina)  appeal to your
 solidarity due to the intense struggle we of Ceramics Zanon are carrying
 out to defend our jobs and the payment of our wages.

 Ceramics Zanon is the largest private company in our province, the second
 largest company of ceramic coatings in our country and the largest and most
 modern producer of percelain in South America.

 We have been on strike for more than a month. We have carried out
 mobilizations and picket lines to prevent stock from leaving the plant.  We
 have blockaded bridges and roads to prevent the closing of the plant and
 layoff of almost 400 workers in a province where unemployment is 20%,

 In the beginning we took over the plant and began to manufacture with the
 raw materials in the plant. We were showing society that the only ones
 interested in maintaining the factory are the workers.

 Threatened with violent eviction, we received support from students, human
 rights groups, y leading cultural figures such as Osvaldo
 Bayer, who devoted a column to our struggle in the newspaper "Pagina 12".

 The reply of the bosses was soon in coming...With police and justice
 officials, they cut off supplies of gas to the plant showing that they
 wanted to stop production and prevent the workers from exposing the
 profits derived from our work.  In just two days of work we covered the
 salaries for the whole month.  Then the bosses won on an appeal which had
been favorable to the workers...and ordered the embargo of the stock which
 would have paid the wages owed.

 Faced by the intransigence of the employers, in the last few days we are
 intensifying our struggle in alliance with the movement of the unemployed
 ("los piqueteros")  Together with student, political, and human rights
 groups we decided on blocking the bridge that connects the province of
 Neuquen with Rio Negro, two of the most important provinces in the
 Argentinian Patagonia.

 The Movement of Unemployed Workers of Neuquen brought out hundreds of
 companeros, forging the unity that has begun between our trade union and
brothers without work.  The leadership of FOCRA (Fedration of Ceraminc
 Workers of Argentina) which is affiliated with the CGT of Hugo Moyano, has
 not given us any support.

 Zanon workers, led by our democratic union, have decided to resist and we
 will defend our jobs until the final consequences against the bosses that
 for several months did not pay on time and then told us they would only
 reopen the plant if we accepted massive layoffs and cuts in pay.  We demand
 the immediate reopening of the Zanon plant under workers control, without
 layoffs and paycuts and payment of all the back pay.

 If the employers refuse, we propose that the State expropiate or
 it and that the plant be directly adminstered by its workers. This should
 part of plan for public works to build homes, schools and hospitals that
 needed by the Neuquino people.  This would respond to the problem of
 unemployment with genuine work.

 We know the triumph of our struggle will not be easy.  As you probably
 Argentina is going through a serious economic  and financial crisis
 and a recession with few precedents in its history. But we are part of a
 working class in the last two years has led six General Strikes. And we
 decided to interconnect ourselves with the "piquetero" unemployed movement
 who with their picket likes and blockades of roads  have become the
 against  the anti-working class plans of the IMF which are being applied by
 the government of De La Rua and Cavallo with the support of the governors
 the PJ (peronist).  Thus our struggle is a "casewitness" in confronting
 closures, massive suspensions and unemployment that are taking place
 throughout the factories of Argentina.

 The bosses with the complicity of the government want to break up our
 struggle and our fighting ceramics union. They want us to capitulate
 hunger.  That is why we are organizing a strike fund that will allow us to
 continue the struggle until the end, that is why we are appealing to
 socially concerned   and political organizations in Argentina and througout
 the world.  To send money, we have opened up an account:

 Banco Nacion, sucursla Neuquen
 Caja de Ahorro (in dollars) No. 376807605/8
 In the name of: Angel Velasquez

   Thsi bank has branches in London, New york, Miami, Montivideo, Santiago,
 Santa Cruz, La Paz, and Asuncion.  In cities or countries where there are
 branches, transfers can be made to this account...If you have decided to
 help financially, we ask you to call us via telephone: (54-299)15-581-6123
 or via e mail at:
 ceramistasneuquen at hotmjail.com

  From the South of Argentina, we send you greetings, thanking you for your
 solidarity in this struggle.

 Raul Godoy
 General Secretary
 Sindicato de Obreros y Empleados Ceramistas de Neuquen