29 January, 2024IndustriALL affiliates in Argentina held a general strike on 24 January in protest of the economic reforms proposed by far-right president Javier Milei. Unions worldwide supported the strike and called for solidarity.
Trade unions, including union federations CTA-A, CGT, CTA-T and UTEP, along with other civil society organizations, came together for the first general strike in Argentina since 2019. According to Argentina’s union federations, more than 700,000 people marched on the National Congress in Buenos Aires and 1.5 million took part in campaigns held across the country in support of people’s rights, the separation of powers, democracy and the constitution.
Carrying signs with slogans such as "you don’t sell out your country, you defend it" and "workers united", demonstrators protested against the reforms proposed by the ultra-liberal Milei government. The reforms seek to deregulate the economy, reduce the size and intervention of the state and get rid of hundreds of laws that protect both individual and collective rights.
The reform package includes a “necessity and urgency” decree and a bill entitled “bases and starting points for the freedom of the people of Argentina” (known as the omnibus bill). In their speeches, union leaders condemned the necessity and urgency decree, which they say includes measures that violate people’s fundamental rights and directly affect union work, and called on the National Labour Court to rule it unconstitutional.
Union leaders also condemn the omnibus bill, which seeks to give the Milei government legislative power until December 2025 and to privatize public companies, the railways, the post office and the state media. Calling the bill a direct attack on sovereignty, they said the strike had already had a major impact, since the ruling party had planned to pass the omnibus bill on Thursday, 25 January but had postponed the session until the following week.
Under pressure from the opposition, the government has already been forced to remove one article stipulating that any public gathering of three or more people would be deemed an illegal demonstration leading to possible imprisonment. The unions have used the general strike, the huge nationwide campaign and their actions at Argentinean embassies in various countries to demand respect for the democratic functioning of the country and its constitution, and the withdrawal of reforms that violate countless fundamental rights.
Says IndustriALL regional secretary Marino Vani:
“We congratulate the union federations, our affiliates and the workers of Argentina for their excellent campaign and for protesting against the legislation imposed by the Milei government. IndustriALL will continue to work with our affiliates to encourage workers to speak out against injustice.”
Créditos foto portada: CTAA