Father of Fragata Libertad sailor speaks: ‘This strike is a direct attack by the union’

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Juan Carlos Pedemonte and his wife Martha surround their son Hernán, midshipman of the Fraga ARA Libertad, as he sets sail on April 30, 2022
Juan Carlos Pedemonte and his wife Martha surround their son Hernán, midshipman of the Fraga ARA Libertad, as he sets sail on April 30, 2022

The surprise strike issued last night by the United Maritime Workers Union (SOMU) and prevents reaching Frigate ARA Libertad in the port of Buenos Aires left in anticipation the hugs and tears of the reunion of the relatives with the sailors who have been traveling on board since April 30, when it put to sea. And in many cases the feeling mutated into anger.

Juan Carlos Pedemont He arrived on Friday with his wife Martha from the city of Rosario. I was thinking of seeing your son at 9.30am today Hernan Ezekiel22 years old, midshipman, one of the 326 crew members of our Navy’s flagship. Could not. Talk to me while you wait at the naval post Infobae: “I arrived last night to be early this morning and I found this. For me a strike declared at 8am knowing the frigate will call it is direct Union aggression, a tremendous disregard. There are many families waiting here, there is a woman who brought her baby so that the father can meet him, there are people from Jujuy, from Salta… It can’t be, the union disregarded us”.

Hernán Pedemonte, Commissioned Midshipman, in the port of Veracruz, Mexico, with the frigate ARA Libertad in the background
Hernán Pedemonte, Commissioned Midshipman, in the port of Veracruz, Mexico, with the frigate ARA Libertad in the background

The man knows that at the moment they have no choice but to wait for the union dispute to be resolved. Even though the Ministry of Labor has already enacted the mandatory conciliation procedure, the union has yet to comply. The indefinite strike, SOMU explained, was caused by the stalled wage negotiations that its leaders claim to improve the income of the smugglers who work in the ports.

“People from the Navy have come, we all have support. We know it’s not their fault,” says Pedemonte. Over time, he says that no one in his family influenced his son’s decision to join the Navy. He worked on Channel 5 in Rosario, then he had an advertising agency , he was in Acindar, in Somisa and in the Santa Fe House of Representatives. Now he’s retired, “but I work some, because if I don’t, then it’s not enough to live on.”Your son fell in love with the searemember “When he was traveling with the Boy Scouts to a camp at the Puerto Belgrano Naval Base. He was 8 years old and when he came back he asked me to join the Navy. When he was 11 he wanted to go to the Liceo Storni and I told him that if he got good grades I would take him. He ran an excellent newsletter and I followed him. And when he graduated, he entered the naval school. So He has been associated with the Navy for more than ten years.”

A group of relatives await the arrival of the frigate at the Buenos Aires Naval Station (Nicolás Stulberg)
A group of relatives await the arrival of the frigate at the Buenos Aires Naval Station (Nicolás Stulberg)

He saves the photo of the farewell and another from in his mobile phone his son in the Mexican port city of Veracruz, in Mexico, with the frigate Libertad in the background. “Today I spoke to him on the phone. He told me they were ready to depart from La Plata, where they were anchored. Due to the tides, you must enter the Buenos Aires Naval Station in two time slots. 8am and 5pm, but if the strike is lifted they can be here in four hours,” he explains. Due to the characteristics of the ARA Libertad frigate, They need the tugboat competition to dock.

“He is excited about the trip, it gave him a lot of life experiences, the opportunity to meet people from other countries, to know what the treatment will be like when he is official. The study he made on the Fragata was very tedious, he finished the sculpting. Besides, we need to know the crew represents ArgentinaThat’s why the union’s decision hurts even more,” regrets the midshipman’s father.

Juan Carlos Pedemonte came from Rosario to wait for his son (Nicolás Stulberg).
Juan Carlos Pedemonte came from Rosario to wait for his son (Nicolás Stulberg).

The other problem that family members have is housing. The Pedemontes have a room at the Hotel Círculo Naval, but “it’s full, They told us that they will do everything for us to stay, but they don’t give us any security.”. And right in the middle the money from the tickets, which they no longer know whether they can use. “We wanted to return to Rosario with our son at 7:30 p.m. by bus. And for someone with no money to spare, throwing away 9,000 pesos is a lot..

The latest official statement from the Argentine Navy, which is dependent on the nation’s defense ministry, says the frigate Libertad is “currently at anchor in Rada La Plata awaits to complete its entry into port upon the completion of its 50th training voyage”.

the ship commander, Karl Peter SchawinskySpeaking to TN in the morning, he left his feelings on the conflict: “We are used to going out to sea through storms and that would be one more. This strengthens us especially for the training of midshipmen.”

The frigate ARA Libertad is anchored in the Rada La Plata awaiting the resolution of the union dispute
The frigate ARA Libertad is anchored in the Rada La Plata awaiting the resolution of the union dispute

While SOMU is expected to adhere to mandatory arbitration, this was one of the alternatives explored Dock at Puerto Belgrano -near the town of Bahía Blanca-. This is the training ship’s natural base, and they wouldn’t have to rely on private tugs there. “Hopefully we don’t get to that point,” said Commander Schavinsky, “The families tried very hard to be able to welcome us.”

CONTINUE READING:

A surprise union strike prevents the Fragata Libertad from returning to Buenos Aires
Fragata Libertad: a life at sea between storms and the love story behind her figurehead

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