It is a well known fact that unions in Argentina have significant bargaining power and engage in constant salary negotiations for their unionized employees. High inflation in Argentina in recent years has only increased the frequency of such negotiations.
This situation has led to a new phenomenon: When managerial level non-unionized employees compare their salary increases with those of their subordinates who are in unions, they are increasingly finding their salaries being matched or even overtaken by their junior colleagues. This has created a new challenge for employers and a reason for non-unionized employees to seek new solutions.
As a result we are seeing many managerial employees setting out to organize their own unions. The recent creation of a new l mining union which represents non-unionized technicians and managerial employees in the sector is evidence of this new trend. With the blessing of the Ministry of Planning, this union was registered in August 2012 and is likely to be the first of many more to come; there are around 500,000 senior employees who are currently not unionized.
This new union will seek to negotiate employment terms and progression of the managerial mining class in Argentina with a special emphasis on achieving salary increases and better employment conditions.
However, this new mining union has not been granted “exclusive recognition” by the Ministry of Labor. Exclusive recognition gives an association the exclusive right to represent workers in a certain area or activity. Whilst several registered associations may represent the same occupation, craft, rank, or profession, only the most representative will be authorized by the government to represent all workers vis-à-vis the employers. For the time being, there are few managerial workers unions with this “exclusive recognition” rank, but a change is on the cards.
The Labour Courts have also echoed this new concern relating to salaries of managerial employees. In a recent judicial precedent of the Province of Jujuy "M.J. and others vs Limpieza Urbana S.A." the Labor Courts accepted and resolved a complaint filed by employees of a company asking the courts to establish the remuneration they should receive according to their status as managers.
In addition, a Congress person from the governing political party has presented a bill in Congress which proposes that the best monthly remuneration of non-unionized employees should exceed by at least 20% the best monthly remuneration received by any higher paid unionized employee.
While in recent years there has been pressure from unions in search of members, today more and more non-unionized employees let their employers know that they are now willing to listen to new proposals and the attention has also shifted to non-unionized employees.