In the midst of pressure from the Government to control the prices of fruits and vegetables in the Central Market, the stallholders of the Tapiales property called a strike for this Wednesday and demand that Minister Sergio Massa receive them.
In the list of the claims of the stallholders appear the high costs they pay to be in the Market that do not translate into good services. Insecurity and lack of infrastructure are at the forefront of the demands.
Three weeks ago, when the jump in inflation in April was known, which gave 8.4%, the economic team headed by Massa met all Saturday outlining measures to lower inflation.
One of the measures announced on Sunday, May 14, was that an importing entity of fruits and vegetables would be created in charge of the Central Market to counteract the rise in products coming from abroad. The proposal made noise in the Market, since of all the fruits and vegetables that are marketed there, only 5% is imported.
But what generated more annoyance was that on Monday, May 15, the Afip and Customs made a joint operation to control 10 posts that import fruits – basically banana, avocado, kiwi and pineapple – which generated a lot of commotion, but without concrete results.
After the operation, no procedure or sanction was reported to the controlled companies. What did happen was that in the following days the competition to the Market dropped a lot, as a result of the fear of potential buyers that the AFIP would also control them.
For the stallholders, this was the straw that broke the camel's back of their claims. Associations such as COMAFRU, which represents fruit and vegetable producers and the Federation of Potato Producers, have been complaining about the increase in the cost of the canon they pay to be there. They reported that in the last month some stallholders received an increase of 370%.
"We pay and receive nothing in return, the insecurity is increasing, within the Market they have robbed several of our buyers. So the greengrocers prefer to go to other zonal markets, where the merchandise is somewhat more expensive, but at least they feel protected," one of the stallholders told Clarin.
"We lack any kind of security, when the Market through its president does not stop saying loudly that it spends 30 million pesos on this service," the operators said in a statement. They also complain about high electricity rates and lack of cleanliness.
The associations of stallholders and producers have been meeting with the president of the Market, Aníbal Stella and have even had a meeting with the Secretary of Commerce, Matías Tombolini. But they have not gotten answers. Now they are going for more and asking to meet directly with Minister Sergio Massa.
In the middle they decided to go on strike indefinitely from Wednesday 7. "In assembly the operators (stallholders) decided that on Wednesday, June 7, we will cease activity from 7:30 a.m., marching to the administrative center," they announced.
"Today the operators are victims of an aberrant tariff, in the canon and the services product of an arbitrariness of the directory. Those who have a new contract (as of March 2023) fell into the hands of an increase of around 370%."
One of the claims they want to take to Masa is that they had anticipated that as they could lower prices they were going tobe paid for 90 days of the payment of the canon, something that never materialized.
"They have listened to us and proved us right, but they say they can't do anything. Let's externalize the problem before lamenting a large percentage of melted posts. We strongly analyze stop paying everything to the Market Corporation. It is a measure that we must take together, "said the stallholders.
In the middle, the idea of creating an importing entity was losing weight, since even in the conduct of the Market they consider it unviable. The Market is a tripartite entity, led by the Nation, the province of Buenos Aires and the City. To create an importing entity they have to agree among all and reform the statute.
What did happen is that Massa set foot on the Tapiales property, by designating Raul Diaz, leader of the Renewal Front, as representative of the Nation. The appointment has not yet been made official but in the official offices they already give it as a fact.