After several days the strike and encampment at IBM´s site at Martinez keeps going on.
Although an audition was called for today, Monday, the legitimate measure continues along with the support of a big majority of employees who are present at the place of the event.
Another day is added to the strike which was announced last Wednesday, December 18.
The conflict, which has so far no solution, became inevitable after four years of constant denunciation by the Unión Informática. The case of IBM is more than the simple reflection of the current situation, a situation of deterioration of the local IT industry, which sees a dramatic reduction of staff and lack of salary adjustments to the cost of living without precedent.
At the end of a more than agitated year, where diverse social uprisings, like the demands for salary increase by the police of several provinces or the re vindication of the salaries of the truck drivers union, served as catalyst, a cry of alert surfaces which keeps getting louder. The socially motivated demand requires a minimum salary of ARS 8.500, amount which barely compensates the currently rampant inflation. As already outlined previously, the average IT salary is far below that number.
In the case of IBM, a report was presented six months ago, where the abrupt decrease of purchase power of the “IBMer” was made evident. As evident as the two-faced corporate statements about the increase of operational costs due to high inflation and the devaluation of the Argentine currency.
A revelation may also be the drastic reduction of staff by almost 50%: As of 2009 the number of employees was reduced from over 10.000 to little more than 5.000 today.
In addition to the already more than enough reasons for a new strike at IBM, at this opportunity there are interesting nuances, which are the result of a maturing process, that needed time: IBM has now four strikes on its account. And the level of adhesion was increasing from time to time. One of the thermometers to measure this are the repercussions in social media.
Beyond the vast support, there are abundant comments by various employees, which assure that “working at IBM is a four-letter-word”, whereas the company that used to be was a place where everybody was proud to work (see article attached “From the model enterprise to the IBM in decline”). The general discontent becomes more and more evident and, interestingly, not only the support of the measure itself, but also the way that many now are conscious of the importance of participating in this process of change.
The occurrences received ample coverage by the media, including mass media that pointed out the extent of the strike. The conflict has reached now a dimension, where it can no longer be denied and is also supported by IT unions from abroad.
Meanwhile, IBM´s only reaction was to issue a false propaganda statement, based on doubtful legal interpretations, which not only left room for doubt, but actually resulted in the contrary. A counter-statement, issued by the Unión Informática, exposing the lies in IBM’s response, resulted in abundant comments in social media condemning IBM’s actions.
Regarding the legal aspect of the situation, the Sub-secretary of Labor of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires cited both parties to an audition today.
Continuity of the strike
As at previous moments, the operation will not be abandoned until the company accedes to dialogue and a solution to the conflict is found. During the days previous to the holidays, the measure will be sustained with an encampment at the entrance of IBM’s site in Martinez, similar to situation during the development of the conflict with Tata Consultancy Services.
As explained earlier, the modality of the strike is twofold: Employees which wish to support the strike can join their co-workers and members of the Unión Informática and help with the manifestations at Martinez. Or, we invite employees to adhere to the strike by disconnecting their workstations from their private networks as well as from instant messaging systems of IBM.