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  HOME | Argentina

Argentine Unions Call General Strike

BUENOS AIRES – Argentina’s largest labor federation announced on Thursday that it is planning a 24-hour general strike for April 6 to protest the economic policies of conservative President Mauricio Macri.

The date was selected by a unanimous decision of the executive council, Carlos Acuña, a member of the three-person leadership of the Confederacion General del Trabajo (CGT), told a press conference here.

The CGT decided to call the first general strike of Macri’s 15-month-old government after thousands of union workers, political activists and owners of small and medium-sized businesses took to the streets of Buenos Aires last week to denounce the government.

The general strike will not be accompanied by demonstrations, the CGT said.

“There is generalized unhappiness among broad segments of the population,” CGT co-leader Juan Carlos Schmid said.

Both unemployment and poverty have worsened since Macri took office in December 2015, while inflation exceeded 40 percent last year, due in part to the government’s decision to impose whopping increases in utility rates.

The CGT says that government policies have had the effect of favoring imports at the expense of domestic firms, especially small and mid-sized manufacturers.

Acuña said that in the interest of “social peace,” the CGT has reacted in a cautious and responsible manner to what he described as the errors of the Macri administration.

Last year, the government convened a dialogue between organized labor and employers, but talks broke down after some companies declined to adhere to a moratorium on layoffs.

Macri’s policies have led to the “destruction of very large numbers of jobs,” the CGT’s Hector Daer said at the press conference.

Asked about official data published Thursday showing unemployment fell 0.9 percent to 7.6 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, Daer said that more weight should be given to the loss of 52,000 industrial jobs in 2016.

Unemployment in mining and agriculture also declined last year, he said.

 

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