Deputy Chief of the city government María Eugenia Vidal announced today that if the city Legislature does not approve the plan drafted by Mayor Mauricio Macri’s Propuesta Republicana (PRO) party for the transfer of subte maintenance from the federal to the city level, then the service will be “at risk” beginning this January.
“Without the law that authorises the Executive to take charge of the service, legally the Executive cannot take charge”, she stated, speaking today in Flores.
Last night the city Legislature met for the final ordinary session of 2012, approving the city’s budget for 2013 and passing various other laws. A consensus was not reached, however, regarding the transfer of the subte and Premetro from national to city jurisdiction. Mayor Macri agreed in November to take responsibility for the service, having initially rejected the idea.
The mayor has called for extraordinary sessions of the Legislature between now and the end of the year in order to reach an agreement regarding the situation. He has stated that if a law is not approved, then control of the subte will remain in the hands of the national government.
“We still have next week”, he told Clarín. “If there is no law, the national government will continue being responsible for the service.”
He added “I hope they are reasonable and approve the law, after having dumped the subte in our lap.”
Opponents of the PRO plan reject the clause that would define the subte and Premetro as an ‘essential service’, a move they believe would infringe on metro-worker’s right to strike. The clause would require services to operate at 90% during peak hours and 60% during off-peak hours, including strike days.
A union delegate speaking on behalf of the DyN, the B Line union, said “the law doesn’t consider the interests of the commuters or the workers.”
Vidal responded this afternoon, affirming that the law “does not limit the right to strike, but asks that minimum service is guaranteed so that people are not affected each time the unions decide to strike. It is much more important to prioritise one million commuters’ ability to get home than the interests of any particular union.
“The subte belongs to the commuters, not to the unions, not to Mauricio Macri, not to the concessionaries”, she added.
The legislature will meet again next Thursday in order to discuss the matter further.