A complaint has been submitted by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) about the Argentine government violating ILO conventions in its interference in the affairs of the Sindicato de Obreros Maritimos Unidos (SOMU) union.
According to ITF’s complaint, by placing SOMU under its control, the government of Argentina is in breach of its obligations under ILO Convention 87.
“This interference by the Argentine government restricts the rights of SOMU, its officials and its members to organise their administration and activities in full freedom,” ITF said, demanding that the Argentine government immediately hands back control of SOMU to its elected leadership and its members.
“No intervention that violates the principles contained in ILO Convention 87 and 98, that may attempt to disrespect a union’s self determination or constitutional provisions, that may lead to seizing workers’ assets or property or that may try to deny their legitimately elected leadership, has any legal or moral validity,” the ITF general secretary Stephen Cotton wrote to a member of congress, Gladys Gonzalez, the new leader of SOMU since the government takeover.
On July 6, union leaders from Argentina, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Netherlands, Panama, Russia, Switzerland, UK and Uruguay passed an emergency resolution backing Sindicato de Obreros Maritimos Unidos, SOMU.
In February armed police raided SOMU offices confiscating equipment and removing elected union leaders from their offices.