Chilean Minister of Labour communicates agenda for public sector to PSI general secretary

24 March 2014
Rosa Pavanelli en Chile
On 14 March, the Chilean Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Javiera Blanco, met senior officials of Public Services International (PSI), led by its General Secretary, Rosa Pavanelli, to hand over details of the work planned by the government of the recently elected president, Michelle Bachelet.

Pavanelli, who was accompanied in the meeting by Jocelio Drummond, PSI Regional Secretary; Verónica Prado, Southern Cone Subregional Secretary; Omar Autón, Co-President of the Inter-American region; representatives of the Chilean coordinating committee for PSI affiliated unions, including Raúl de la Puente (Anef), Ana Bell (Anef), Gabriela Farías (Fenpruss) and Raúl Araya (Anejud); Ismael Cortazzo (Ffose-Uruguay) and Mirtha Arias (Sitrama-Paraguay), communicated her hopes for the new government and thanked the  minister for her invitation to the Transfer of Power ceremony on 11 March at the National Congress in Valparaíso.

Pavanelli said that austerity measures had not been successful but had in fact made conditions worse for workers. She hoped that the new government will advance workers’ rights for collective bargaining and the right to strike in the Chilean public sector.

Minister Blanc pledged to apply ILO Conventions 87 and 151 that have been ratified by Chile. She promised that the government will work with the trade unions on matters of job security, collective bargaining and decent work, in both public and private sectors. The Minister will convene a committee of experts to discuss and build a new pensions system for the country.

PSI Regional Secretary Jocelio Drummond offered PSI’s assistance in applying ILO Convention 151.

Representatives of PSI affiliates expressed their satisfaction with the new government. President of the public employees’ union Anef, Raul de la Puente, looked forward to the new government’s inclusion of collective bargaining and the right to strike on its agenda.  Gabriela Farias, President of Fenpruss (health workers’ union), welcomed the window of opportunity that the new government had opened for health workers. And Raúl Araya, President of the judiciary trade union Anejud, said that the judiciary employees had never managed to establish a dialogue with the outgoing administration, but hoped to move forward with the current Minister of Justice.

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