Historically, high-tech companies in Argentina have not had much union presence. However, unions are beginning to target the high-tech sector and their employees, and are actively seeking formal recognition by the Ministry of Labor for the representation of employees within the sector. Thus far, unions have not received formal recognition by the Ministry of Labor. There are two unions targeting high-tech employees:
"Union Informática" (UI) and "CEPETEL - Sindicato de los Trabajadores de las Tecnologías de la Información y la Comunicación" (CEPETEL).
UI and CEPETEL have sought to gain recognition by the Ministry of Labor as unions of high-tech employees. Nonetheless, both UI and CEPETEL continue with their efforts to obtain formal recognition as representatives of high-tech employees.
In addition to UI and CEPETEL attempts to become recognized unions, last June an Employers' Association of technology companies ("Cámara de Empresas de Software y Servicios Informáticos" - CESSI-), signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with Union de Trabajadores Sociedades de Autores y Afines (UTSA). UTSA represents workers in activities related to intellectual property such as scientific, literal, artistic and didactic production, among others. The UTSA claims to have representation over high-tech employees given that, in its view, software programming and creation fall within the scope of intellectual property activities.. The CBA was submitted to the Ministry of Labor in order to obtain formal approval. Formal approval would trigger enforceability of the CBA for the entire industry. Under Argentinian law, CBA's are considered to be universally enforceable, and the CBA might be applicable even to those companies that were not necessarily members of CESSI and/or signatories (individually speaking) to the CBA between UTSA and CESSI,. As of this writing, the CBA has not been approved by the Ministry of Labor.
If the CBA is approved by the Ministry of Labor, and becomes enforceable for high-tech companies, some changes and adjustments to the existing employment terms and conditions of employees of high-tech companies will probably be required. The terms and conditions affected include working hours, holidays, paid leave, and other workers' rights and obligations.
The CBA also includes a broad scope of activities that fall under the umbrella of the new collective regulation. If the CBA becomes applicable and enforceable, high-tech companies will feel a pronounced impact since employees that are currently non-unionized will fall under the scope of the CBA. High-tech companies will face new challenges in order to integrate the terms and requirements of the CBA , mitigate the potential salary overlapping of unionized and non-unionizd employees (both current and future employees).
A decision from the Ministry of Labor with regard to the CBA executed between the UTSA and CESSI is expected. If the decision grants the representation of all high-tech workers to UTSA, such a scenario will force high-tech employers to confront issues and challenges that were not previously under consideration by them.