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Sergio Palazzo now goes for Mercado Libre: is the banking better commerce employees?

Sergio Palazzo now goes for Mercado Libre: is the banking better commerce employees?
The sector employs 150 thousand workers and is one of the fastest growing and labor demand. What are the conventions of the guilds that fight for them
19.07.2019 18.56hs Mundo Fintech

Just a few weeks after the Primary elections, the campaign recorded a confrontation that has a new actor as its protagonist: the ruling party traced Marcos Galperin, CEO and founder of Mercado Libre, to an ally to symbolize the "Argentina de all right".

For its part, Kirchner joined the union movement within its ranks, especially Hugo Moyano, trucking leader; and Sergio Palazzo, head of La Bancaria. And they did not hesitate to point their artillery at the businessman.

The fuse was lit with the conflict in the automated warehouse that the unicorn installed in La Matanza, enclave "Kirchner" that has as mayor Veronica Magario, precandidata to lieutenant governor of Buenos Aires on the ballot that heads Axel Kicillof to face Maria Eugenia Vidal.

Rapid reflection, the company approved in the then Ministry of Labor an agreement with the Union of Loading and Unloading for the employees of the facility, which aroused Moyano's discontent: not only it removed the representation of transporters, but also reduced the weight to OCA, a company linked to the truck driver, among the shipping providers of the ecommerce giant.

But two weeks ago, Palazzo raised the temperature of the confrontation. And it has the support not only of Kirchnerism, which will lead the leader of the Claudia Ormachea group in its list of Buenos Aires deputies, but also of the banking businessmen.

In this sort of union that, paraphrasing Jorge Luis Borges, is based more on terror than love, guild and employers claim that the fintech - fundamentally, Mercado Pago - follow the guidelines and regulation of the rest of the financial industry to compete on equal terms.

The head of the Banking Association added more gunpowder to the debate by saying last week: "We are going for the framing of all Fintech workers, if Galperin is there, he will have to comply with the law."

The CEO of the $ 31 billion firm was quick to respond. On Twitter he said he was "reviewing the list of our new # amigos2019" and added that "only Conmebol is missing and they are all", in reference to the governing body of South American football, suspected of benefiting Brazil in the Copa América.

Not everything was there: he shared an article with photos of the headquarters that opened the unicorn in the neighborhood of Saavedra, with amenities like Silicon Valley, accompanied by the legend: "It seems that the capitalists precarize workers."

In the last hours, Palazzo, in "campaign mode" after making sure that the banking leader Claudia Ormachea entered the list of deputies from the Frente de Todos of Buenos Aires, upped the ante saying that "the banking agreement is the only one applicable to digital banking. "

Beyond the electoral tinge and union issues, the dispute reveals the profound impact of the digital revolution on businesses and jobs in the banking and financial sector. The emergence of fintech, which today totals more than 130 companies, most created in the last five years according to a report by Accenture, put the banks in check. But also to the current labor legislation.

Which one suits more
Argentina is the third country in the region, behind Brazil and Mexico, in number of fintech companies. 80% of companies are SMEs that have an average of 50 employees or less.

It is also one of the industries that is growing and enjoys full employment: according to the brand new chamber of the sector, it has a labor demand that exceeds the supply. In this context, the dilemma arises whether their workers should be considered bank or computer.

"These are technological jobs, but those who provide financial services within a fintech should be considered banking," says Ignacio Lonzieme, head of the Information Technology Union, one of the trade associations of the technology category, which emerged in 2013. And in this it coincides with the Banking leader, Sergio Palazzo.

However, the reality within Mercado Libre and most of the technological companies is that their employees are "out of agreement" or framed within the Trade Union.

"Before the unionization, which began in 2011 with the first computer strike we did at IBM and then spread to other firms, large companies preferred to make agreements with Commerce and not with us, we know the activity and claim benefits and specific conditions" , says Lonzieme.

From the point of view of the worker, it is not the same to be considered banking, computer or commercial. The differences in the initial salary, working conditions and benefits are notorious. And in general they have to do with the trajectory and strength of each union.

The group led by Armando Cavalieri is clearly the most numerous, with more than 1 million members across the country, while the leader of Palazzo has just over 90,000. The computer scientists have several trade associations, but none exceeds 2,000 sharp. These include Sutira (Single Union of Computer Workers, ACG (Computer Trade Association) and Union Informática.

The basic agreement wage of the Argentine Federation of Commercial Employees (FAECYS) is around $ 30,000 gross per month after the last parity increase, remaining below the poverty line, which is calculated at $ 30,300 of monthly family income.

With 1,200,000 adherents throughout the country, it is estimated that some 35,000 belong to technology companies, to whom the trade union offers "a wide range of health, tourism and mutual services".

The conditions and modalities of the typical worker of commerce differ from those of a computer employee. From the mercantile guild, they assure iProUP that they are about to create a branch within the agreement to meet the specific needs of technology companies.

Meanwhile, in the banking sector, being one of the activities with the highest profitability in the beleaguered Argentine economy, the remunerations and incentives are higher than the market average.

According to data from La Bancaria, the initial salary for the lowest category is around $ 52,000 gross, consisting of $ 48,900 basic plus about $ 2,500 per share in earnings. To this we add $ 43,000 for the Banking Day, bonus for productivity at the end of the year, social work, loans at a preferential rate and advantages such as discounts on shows, tourism and hotels.

In terms of health, in the absence of social work or polyclinic, most of the technological firms have agreements with prepaid and offer coverage plans of medium and high range as part of the benefits.

Digital impact
Beyond the discussion between banking, IT and business, "the criterion for professionally framed a worker has to do not with the company, but with the activity performed", explains Nicolás Trotta, specialist in Labor Law and rector of the University Metropolitan for Education and Labor (UMET). "And this is not decided by the owner of the company or the union leader, but by Labor Justice," he says.

In addition - clarifies the specialist -, "always the labor conditions are going to be better in those companies where there is unionization and in Argentina the right to organize exists, since the country ratified the agreement on freedom of association in the ILO".

For Juan Carlos Cerutti, a labor lawyer, the question of union framework "is complicated because the Argentine union system works by overlapping, that is, there can only be one union per branch of activity."

"The big companies, as they have several activities, have several guilds, Fintech activity, as it is something new, has not yet defined what it corresponds to, but there can not be a part of the jobs affiliated to banks and another part to trade if they develop the same task ", exemplifies.

According to the lawyer, "just as the industrial revolution brought the concept of business, of working time and the first unions and labor rights were born, today the knowledge economy and the industries 4.0 rethink all that, because they allow remote work and the concept of working day changed by the objectives to be met ".

With the numbers in sight and behind the crosses between trade unionists and businessmen, there are those who believe that the dispute goes beyond the representation of the personnel that works in Fintech. And it extends to the affiliation of technological workers within the most diverse areas: from industrial production and services to the State itself.

It is at least 150,000 workers with high salaries and low membership: it is estimated that only 25% is unionized. The cake for which these groups fight would reach $ 7,500 million annually between union dues, social works and contributions from companies.

A not insignificant portion in a context in which the loss of 200,000 formal jobs only during the last year and the collapse of real wages have thinned the guild coffers.

But the digital transformation, according to Cerutti, "leads to certain tasks are not framed, because there is no agreement that clearly defines them," so he claims that these aspects are taken into account at this time in which a reform is discussed labor.

"For now, there are no projects in Congress that seriously consider the impact of technologies on employment, it would be an opportunity to discuss new working conditions and new labor rights," says the lawyer. Although for this, we have to wait until October.

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