On addressing to the Congress in 1904, President Julio Argentino Roca announced that a bill elaborated by the Minister of Interior, Joaquín V. González, was to be sent immediately. The bill purported to regulate blue-collar work and its relations with capital, inspired in “evident needs and formulas adopted by nations which have best legislated on the matter.” There was already a full awareness about the problems afflicting the world of work, and especially workers.
Said bill consisted of 465 sections divided into 14 titles, preliminary and general dispositions; foreigners; contract of employment; intermediaries in a contract of employment; work injuries; duration and suspension of work; work at the worker’s residence and domestic factories; child and women labour; apprenticeship contract; Indigenous contract of employment; hygiene and safety at work; employers and workers associations; administrative authorities; and conciliation and arbitration courts.
While shaping such bill, the Federal Executive entrusted Juan Bialet Massé with a report on the conditions of work and of blue-collar population all over the provinces, by means of the Executive Order of January 22 1904. Furthermore, Mr. Bialet Massé was requested to submit such amendments as he deemed necessary.
On September 6 1905, the Executive Power promulgated Act No. 4661, regarded as the first one reflecting modern trends. It was the starting point of a new conception in the field of labour law.
President José Figueroa Alcorta, through the Executive Order of March 14 1907, created the Departamento Nacional del Trabajo [Federal Department of Labour]. He appointed José Nicolás Matienzo to run it, entrusting him with the “gathering, coordinating and disclosing of every data related to work within the [Argentine] Republic, especially those concerning labour and capital relations, and legislative and administrative amendments capable of improving the economic, social, intellectual and moral conditions of workers.”
On September 30 1912, after several attempts, the House of Representatives passed the Organic Act No. 8999, according to bills from José Luis Cantilo and Alfredo L. Palacios. Since this Act, the functions of the Department were widened, thus including inspecting and scrutinizing legilation, creating job listing for unemployed workers, and dealing with conflicts between capital and labour, by means of a Consejo del Trabajo [Labour Council].
In 1943, through the Executive Order No. 15074, the Secretary of Labour and Social Security was created, including into it several agencies existing until then within various governmental areas. Moreover, there were also transferred to such Secretary the arbitration and conciliation services and powers, as well as the functions of police power, the services of hygiene in factories, inspection of mutual associations and those related to labour at sea, river and docks. In turn, the departments, offices or agencies in general existing in the provinces became regional delegations of Labour and Welfare.
At the national level, the only achievement – strongly enhanced with the 1949 Amendment – was the Declaration of Workers’ Rights, stated by President Perón on February 24 1947, and signed in a joint ministers meeting on the following day (Executive Order No. 4865/ 1947), which then turned into section 37, part I, Federal Argentine Constitution. After the Amendment, among other new ministries, the Ministry of Labour and Welfare was created, thus upgrading the Secretary.
In 1958, the Ministries Act No. 14439 changed the name of said national portfolio to Ministry of Labour and Social Security, establishing its new jurisdiction and internal structure. Despite several minor changes, such structure was maintained until 1966, when significant amendments were carried out in the labour field. Such amendments led to the creation of the Ministry of Labour and Treasury comprising various Secretaries of State, one of which was precisely Labour.
In 1971, by means of Act No. 19064, the organization of the Ministries is amended and thus the Ministry became the Ministry of Labour and Social Security again.
On December 10 1999, and since Act No. 25233 (section 22) was passed, the new jurisdiction of the Ministry was established and the former name was changed to Ministry of Labour, Employment and Human Resources Training.
Since February 21 2002, when the Executive Order No. 355/2002 amending the Ministries Act was enacted, the name was again changed to Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security.