The most important umbrella unions in Argentina came together today for the first major opposition demonstration against Macri’s government austerity policies and widespread layoffs occured during the first four months of his administration.
The demonstration comes at the end of a week in which Macri suffered his first parliamentary defeat, after the Senate passed a law prohibiting dismissals. The Argentine president has promised to veto this bill – arguing that it would “destroy employment”- if the Chamber of Deputies passes it.
This time, the three wings of the General Confederation of Workers (CGT) and the two factions of the Argentine Workers’ Central Union (CTA) left their differences behind in order to address what they consider an attack against workers.
Pablo Micheli, Secretary General of the Autonomous CTA , said that “if the anti-layoffs bill is vetoed by the president, we will expand our actions,” and added that “if they don’t listen, there will be a general strike.”
Micheli also referred to the complex situation in regards to inflation and the decline in purchasing power. “It is not true that they have a plan to reduce inflation. The plan they have is that we worker continue to pay the price of the crisis while they continue to grow rich.”
José Rigane, Assistant Secretary of the Autonomous CTA and FeTERA’s Secretary General, said that “the entire labor movement mobilized against dismissals, economic adjustment and the deepening of poverty occured during Macri’s government,” and noted that “without employment, there isn’t ‘0 poverty'”, in regards to an election promise of President Macri.
Rigane also said: “Today was a historic day, in which the unity and freedom of trade unions have triumphed”, adding that “it is time to leave the particular issues of each trade union behind, and put the main points of agreement on the table.”
The march was also in favour of key policies demanded by union members including the anti-layoffs bill, emergency wage increases for workers and pensioners, for raising the minimum wage (up to 16,000 pesos) and a strong rejection of the criminalization of social protest.