“We need the one who does the assembly and also the one who does the tiktok”

About to turn 26 Lucia Toledo Milot She became the first secretary of Youth and Children in the history of the intervened today Cordoba Regional CGT.

It was 2015. At that time, I participated in the creation of associations that could channel the concerns of a heterogeneous mass of contact center workers. Mother of two children and recently separated, she had turned to telemarketing as a job opportunity.

“The work circumstances in the call center were very similar to the conditions Rappi workers have today, all very unregulated. The agreement that was applied at that time was that of Commerce, which did not give answers”, he evokes.

Six years later, he is not only completing his second term in that unprecedented CGT dependency. For two years she has also been a regional delegate of the Union of Employees of the Glass and Allied Industries of the Argentine Republica union with more than 70 years of existence that represents, mainly, optical and laboratory workers.

While he is studying optics and contactology, he is preparing to be part of the new management of the guild, under the leadership of Mario Olmedo, who will renew his mandate in September. He aspires, as a first step, to occupy the communication secretary of the SEIVARA.

Peronist “of Perón and the workers”, schiarettista line, ratifies that the union is a tool that “serves” and solves problems. He believes, however, that the union leadership must adapt to new ways of linking with workers, particularly due to a digitalization that defines the new generations.

In the fifth interview of the cycle that presents new references of trade unionism, Lucía, who chooses to use the last name that links her to her maternal roots and regularly attends the Belgrano field, underlines the need for workers to be trained for a world where changes occur at unusual speed.

-There is a widespread discussion about the need to renew union structures. You embody and pose a generational change. But professions have also been changing, there are new trades and new links between employer and employee.
-It’s capitalism. Everything is designed to generate more and more disorganization. These new technologies should make our lives easier. But far from that, it becomes more and more complex. I really preferred to be inside the office for eight hours, that I crossed the office door and it was obvious that they couldn’t call me, to this matter of the home office, they call at any time for no reason. The right to disconnect is very nice, but in practice it is not enforced. Go not answer the phone to your boss! As a union we have to see this because it also influences our way of organizing and representing ourselves. If we think about the trade unionism that is coming, we are going to represent workers who are teenagers today. And we’re falling behind on a lot of things, we’re not understanding them. You have to know how to reach them. The figure of the delegate who stands up in an assembly and speaks is still necessary. We cannot do without it. But we also need delegates who have soft skills to communicate through social networks, which are another medium, which have another logic. It is also necessary to advance in that territory. We need the one who makes you the assembly and the one who makes you the tiktok.

-In other words, the unions should go out and look for the workers using the new tools and with more adequate proposals. Meanwhile, an anti-union discourse continues to circulate and we are experiencing uberization, as an instance of job insecurity.
-Indio Solari said it a long time ago: you have to listen to the boys. You have to go out and look for them from new interests: environment, gender, etc. There are a lot of themes with which to make a first approach to the affiliate. Another thing is that no one wants to waste time. It’s very valuable. This “I manage my time, I am my own boss” is repeated. And no one wants to join any side to grow a single person. And this logic, this personalism, is deeply rooted within the union. It must also be understood that not all members will want to participate in the political life of the union. But it cannot be that these moments, in which there is great uncertainty, catch you with an old, disunited leadership. With what strength are we going to resist the attacks that will come if new union cadres have not been generated? Forming cadre takes a lot of time, but no one has set themselves this task.

-One of the criticisms made of trade union organizations, in particular the CGT, is that they seem slow to metabolize changes in the labor market.
-I cannot say that we are not given a place in the Córdoba Regional CGT. I am the first secretary of Youth and Children, that secretary did not exist. During the debate over the approval of abortion, for example, nobody made a problem when we went to sign a letter asking senators to vote in favor. There is freedom in these and other issues. The issue is another… I don’t think you have to throw the old people out the window, but neither screw yourself. I want to believe that all these colleagues who are screwed, at some point were in the same as us and asked for a replacement. But 30 years later they are in the same place they swore not to be. So, generationally, we also have to be very careful not to become the same thing we are fighting against. If 30 years from now I’m still here and nobody grew up around me, things weren’t done well.

-How do you see the panorama that opens up from a growing digitization that implies a redefinition of work and jobs?
I think we need a lot of training. We are going to have to sit down with all the actors, especially capital and labor, to redefine issues that have changed with respect to the way we had been thinking about them. For example, distribute the work. They say there is no work and I don’t know if there isn’t or if there is only one person having three jobs because one isn’t enough. Moonlighting, scholarships, internships and consulting contracts… Now everyone hires you as a consultant, nobody takes care of anything. There is a whole flexibilization, which starts from the discourse of “poor businessman who wants to give work and in this country it is not possible”.

-There are also those who ask to review some acquired rights.
-Recently I argued with the owner of an optician who began to question why seniority had to be paid, why title had to be paid. We are in the 21st century, that is not supposed to be discussed. It’s like the bonus: no matter the political color, in this country no one can touch it. And all those who want to work on their own at some point ask for a Christmas bonus and paid vacations, because nobody wants to give up those rights. It is also true that we have to generate rights for workers who are not in a dependency relationship, but who work the same as everyone else. And I don’t propose to formalize informality, but to see how, for example, cooperatives can guarantee a bonus, a vacation. Because whoever is selling on a corner, if he gets sick, a hole is made in his economy, who is in charge? Things as they are don’t work. No more jobs are being created. On the contrary, employment is generated in poor conditions. We see it in SEIVARA, with a number of contracts of people who are blank for four hours but work 12. And they are people who are blank!

-As background, there are sectors that ask for a labor reform
-The word scares us. But yes, reform is necessary. As long as what has already been achieved is not regressed, of course. But a reform is needed because work has changed and not having it contemplated in a framework of rights is going to continue to deepen several problems. And the law is coming quite late. Even a labor reform would be late, because if it actually happens, we will have solved today’s problems, but in five years, at the pace of technology, those laws will become obsolete. We are going to have to start legislating with a different rhythm, because the world has a different rhythm. And to be able to legislate at a different pace we have to be trained in many things: today there is not much training in anything.

-Is there no training?
-For example, now I am thinking of an introductory workshop on macroeconomics. Because we all talk about the dollar, but deep down nobody really knows why everything is going to hell. And if we don’t understand, how are we going to make proposals? To be able to solve something one has to understand and the workers are totally distanced. Training is always relegated by emergencies. Our function is to provide tools so that the best union cadres are formed. I’m not saying I’m an economics technician, but when you say deficit, you know what you’re talking about. Or why there are six types of dollar. The union has a much broader role than discussing raises and working conditions. We have to influence all aspects of life. I want the bus to arrive on time, because if the bus doesn’t arrive on time, I don’t charge attendance.

-That refers to a historical role of trade unionism as an actor of weight in the political definitions that are taken in public management. That weight seems diluted.
-When unions and workers had a voice within the State, advising on what was implemented, this country fared better. Advising the Minister of Education there must be a teacher, not a graduate who has never set foot in a classroom. So with everyone. I’m not saying occupy the role of minister, but yes, as workers, contribute day to day, give a touch of reality to the things they think.

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