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Argentinian unions bring country to a standstill in defence of labour rights

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14 May, 2024Together with other workers in the country, IndustriALL affiliates in Argentina staged an extraordinary national work stoppage on 9 May, protesting against the government and employers who are promoting the removal of established labour and social rights.

Argentina’s trade union confederations called for a day of protest with a work stoppage to fight against:

  • The removal of labour and social rights
  • An adjustment paid for by those who can least afford it (pensioners and workers)
  • The return of the tax on earnings
  • Intervention in the status of free pay agreements
  • The freeze on public works and an increase in unemployment
  • The dismantling and privatization of public companies
  • The defunding of public health, universities, education, science and culture
  • The surrender of national heritage, natural resources

According to the trade union confederations the general strike was observed throughout the country, reporting an “almost total participation in industry, levels that exceeded 90 per cent in commerce and almost 100 per cent in the public sector. Transport, both air and land, also saw a high rate of participation, and in some provinces, rural sectors joined the mobilisation.”

The unions said that the success of the action reflected the level of commitment and the trade union and class consciousness among Argentina’s workers. They also highlighted the unity of action between the three trade union centres, a determining factor in the massive support for the work stoppage.

The strike should be a wake-up call for the Milei government to change its adjustment policies and stop rolling back rights. The strike was also a message to the senators, on whose votes the rejection of the government’s “Foundations and Starting Points Law” depends. Failing that, the unions said they would continue their plan to fight it.

IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL vice president Lucineide Varjão, IndustriALL Latin America and Caribbean regional secretary Marino Vani, and regional executive committee members met with IndustriALL affiliates in Argentina on 7 May. During the meeting, they approved an action plan to confront the Milei government’s attacks on workers.

IndustriALL’s regional executive committee met on 8 May and approved the action plan. In a statement, the committee rejected the reforms to promote deindustrialization, to deregulate the economy, to reduce the size of the state and its levels of intervention, and to repeal hundreds of laws that affect both individual and collective labor rights.

IndustriALL’s regional secretary, Marino Vani, said:

“The workers of Argentina are again setting an example of resistance and struggle. They have made it clear to the employers and the government that they do not accept and do not agree with the measures and policies being adopted.

We congratulate the workers and the union leadership for their resistance and their message, which was not only in defence of the people of Argentina but of all workers in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Créditos de la foto de portada: CGT