Néstor Pitrola, leader of the Workers' Party (PO) and FIT-U's candidate for national deputy in the province of Buenos Aires, made a harsh critique of the "tacit pact" of governance and austerity hatched by President Mauricio Macri and the opposition's candidate and frontrunner Alberto Fernández, in the midst of a crisis that is deepening and greater blows against exploited people. In the same vein, he criticized the “ways out [to the crisis] in the Portuguese or Uruguayan style”, referring to the models of austerity or debt restructuring that are being discussed these days, because “they mean adjustment policies against the workers”.
"The only viable program is FIT-U's," he countered. He proposed the nationalization of strategic resources, banking, foreign trade, and banking, "to end Argentina’s capital flight and looting against workers."
Pitrola defended the struggles led by the labour movement. He supported the occupation of the Ansabo and Kimberly Clark paper mills, “which chart a course for all the factories that close in the country,” as well as the piquetero (unemployed workers) protesting camp that put front and centre the problem of hunger and poverty in the national political agenda. He supported the strike announced by the pilots and strongly criticized Alberto Fernández's order to lift it.
In addition, he made a special reference to the conflict in the province of Chubut, where teachers, public servants and legal court employees have been struggling for more than two months for the timely payment of their salaries. “The strike in Chubut,” said Pitrola, “has put centerstage the general strike method. PO stated that the governor Mariano Arcioni must leave from day one, as [he is] an agent of the bank and the oil companies, that has bankrupted the province by mortgaging oil royalty interests. Chubut is a preview of Argentine reality: bankers or our salaries. The debt or us. The IMF or health and public education.”
Pitrola defended the claim to reopen salary discussions, a stance upheld by combative trade-unions such as the tyre-workers' union (SUTNA), university professors' union (AGD-UBA) and the combative sections of the Province of Buenos Aires' teachers' union (SUTEBA multicolores). And he advocated for the national plenary of employed and unemployed workers undertaken at SUTNA's campsite in Pilar.
Unlike these struggles, Pitrola questioned the unity of the bureaucracy based on the social pact. “We denounce Daer, Moyano, Yasky [leaders of different factions of the union bureaucracy], who are coming together in order to prop the next reactionary social pact up. Our strategy is antagonistic to this social pact, which is aimed at guaranteeing the payment of the debt, which will go hand in hand with the so-called agenda of structural reforms: labor and retirement reform”. Furthermore, he denounced that “they are preparing a new devaluation” before that pact. Pitrola added that "the Industrial Argentine Union (UIA) has joined the social pact because Alberto has promised them to continue with their agenda."
The union bureaucracy, Pitrola said, "has no mandate for that social pact." Therefore, he proposed a congress of delegates democratically elected by the unions' bases. “That unity would be good. From bottom to top. "For these demands, to create a way-out [to the crisis] in the workers' terms”, he concluded.
Finally, Pitrola called to redouble the struggle for people to vote for FIT-U. And he emphasized the place that their parliamentarians will occupy. "The working-class, socialist revolutionary deputies will be at the service of a working-class program as they have already proven in National Congress and each provincial legislature."
And he made a reference to the international scenario. "Let's look ourselves in the reflection which is Ecuador, where the general strike and a rebellion have just opposed the austerity measure of Correa's successor, Lenin Moreno, backed by the IMF."
“Long live the FIT-U. We're for the workers' victory”, Pitrola finished.