Argentina: Emilse I.: “Sitrarepa is part of the new wave of unionization that is sweeping the world”

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Intervention of a referent of the Union of Workers of Delivery by Application in the talk “Anti-capitalism travels the world” of the Third Anti-capitalist Camp of ¡Ya Basta!

The idea was to share with this beautiful camp some of the news and the situation of what we call part of this new working class. Particularly app delivery workers, before that to give a little more background, to understand about the industry for those who may not know. It is a sector that already existed, but that changed sign a bit during the pandemic, when it became an essential sector on the one hand, and at the same time it became overcrowded and filled with young people, new people looking for work. And there you have to understand a bit that what is different about delivery work by application, in some sense, is that it is a new way of managing work, which transforms the way work is managed. The pattern no longer exists, it is not a physical person who is in a Human Resources office but rather an algorithm that controls, regulates and organizes work, and also under the cloak of technological discourse that it is an advance in the way of organizing work, what they hide are redoubled forms of exploitation. This has several aspects in platform work, the first and foremost being the denial of the employment relationship as such and, therefore, the denial of the category of worker. These figures of the self-employed appear, you are your own boss, who loves the far-right sectors and who are standard bearers of this type of figures. On the other hand, what this also wants is to destroy the working conditions of the workers, to take them back a century; We are talking about going back to work without vacations, without bonuses, without maternity leave, without insurance, with absolutely nothing. Another particular thing that this type of way of managing work has is the level of control over the bodies and the productivity of the workers that is almost dystopian, on the one hand, the distributors have control over speed, control over location , about the closeness with other classmates. But it is not just something from that sector, but it is beginning to be used in other sectors; For example, at Amazon, in the box production lines, they have applications that measure the muscle wear and tear of how much they use the arm so that the application tells them “now switch to the other arm” and squeezes the last drop of sweat from the worker during the working day.

Fourth, one thing that is very important, that is new in this way of managing work, is the level of atomization and fragmentation that it generates. There is no workplace, there is no place where we meet, where we go to the bathroom, there is none of that. There is also no right to union organization, there are no unions. So, ultimately, when one sees all the components together, what one finds is that we are facing a sector of the business community that is at the forefront of deepening the exploitative conditions that workers experience. What we always call the “new exploitation of the 21st century” comes with all these problems on the one hand, which is fighting for even the most basic thing: fighting to be recognized as a hard worker, to allow you to organize with your colleagues. That is why the fight for the recognition of SiTraRepA is so hard; He has a reason, which is that he touches on and questions something that is very deep, that these guys want to impose. In this sense, the fight against these giants that are Uber, Amazon, Pedidos Ya, is clearly an anti-capitalist fight, but just as it comes with problems, it also comes with a lot of potential, new forms of organization. For two years we have been part of a united front called UWA (UnitedWorkAction), where organizations of delivery people, drivers, from all over the world, meet weekly to think about what we can do about this situation. This space is based on the agreement for the independence of governments, companies, and the agreement to fight for labor recognition. From there, we launch campaigns and actions, because there is something very crazy about the sector, which is that these multinationals equalize, universalize, working conditions. So what happens is that the kid in Germany is in the same condition as the kid in Argentina and Hong Kong. That is to say, they are international capitals, and there, this equalization of working conditions, at some point clarifies a lot for the colleagues, generates a great identification between the kid who is on the other side of the world with the delivery man who is here in Argentina, That generates many solidarity ties, and also a great opportunity to organize things.

The initial kick were the trips to Brussels, which were all organized by a sector of European reformism that, of course, wants to give activists an orientation that is “come with me and I will solve everything with a law.” That orientation is criminal; first, because it disarms the compañeros, takes them off the streets to make them legal advisors to the deputies; and second, because we see in perspective that they are guys who think that they can reconcile with the companies, and compromise to be a second-class category of workers.

For this reason, Brussels was quite a debate, where from the SiTraRepA we went to raise a strategic debate that is on the side of the grassroots organization that we are going to conquer the rights. It also opened a very important door for us, of connections and contacts with colleagues from all over the world, of course there are all these objective conditions of the sector but there is also the space that SiTraRepA has gained, which is a reference for colleagues, both for the quantity as well as the way we organize ourselves, the solidarity parades as a space, not that idea that the compañero has to come to you but that you go to the compañero, and you will find him. So, now we are launching the support points campaign, which are solidarity stops at the international level, where more than seven countries will participate, and they have already been done all over the world. The result of this, which we are very happy with, is the setting up of the 1st International Congress of Workers for Platforms, which will take place in April, in Los Angeles, California, United States; It was an orientation of SiTraRepA, together with SoB, to go to fight this strategic fight so that there is a space for organization that has the grassroots organization at the center. So it is a Congress in which more than 13 countries are going to participate for now: Argentina, the United States, Paraguay, Ecuador, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Italy and there is a plan to arrive to Hongkong.

It is not only a fight between the delivery men, but it also puts us in contact with what we call the wave of new grassroots unionism that is the colleagues from Amazon, from Starbucks, who are all young kids like us, who have been organizing since the base and that this is also the novelty of the 21st century, that these kids are the first line, that they are facing capitalism that wants to steal the future of young people.

 

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