Argentina Unions, Activists March against President Macri’s Austerity
EspañolRepresentatives of labor unions, social movements and human rights groups across Buenos Aires gathered in front of government headquarters in the Plaza de Mayo Friday, September 2 to protest against falling employment.
The protest marked the end of the “Federal March,” which began with five different interest groups marching from different parts of the country on August 31 toward Buenos Aires.
President Mauricio Macri did not make an appearance, as he was in China attending the G20 summit.
The protest was organized by members of the Confederation of Workers of Argentina (CTA), the General Confederation of Labour of Argentina (CGT), the Association of Workers (ATE) and various social and leftist organizations.
Head of the Autonomous CTA Pablo Micheli said Macri’s administration has made it so that “those who have less pay the adjustment, while companies accumulate increasingly growing profits.”
“Investments that they do not want, don’t happen,” he said. “They’re ingenious. … There will continue to be social unrest if they do not hear the cry of those who are fighting. If you do not listen to us, there will be a national strike sooner rather than later.”
- Read more: Argentina Taxi Drivers Reject Both Uber, Government App
- Read more: IMF Praises Argentina for Accurate Statistics, Might Lift Censure from 2013
Meanwhile, Hugo Yasky of the CTA said the labor movement will set the social agenda, which the government refuses to discuss.
“The people will not kneel before the economic power and repression,” he said.
Yasky said 200,000 people attended the Federal March and warned that more demonstrations of this type — or “increasingly large” — will be coming.
“We want to reopen the joint employer-employee commissions,” the union said in a statement. “We want a salary to make ends meet, not to get a bonus at year-end. … This is the start, the kickoff of the great national strike.”
In the Plaza de Mayo, banners with logos of the various groups could be seen mixed with the white and light blue of Argentina’s flag. Protesters chanted about more jobs, the return of Cristina Kirchner, the resignation of Mauricio Macri and for a national strike and cessation of layoffs, among other topics.
Hundreds of protesters kept vigil, with blockades in different entrances to the city of Buenos Aires, as the five columns of the Federal March approached.
Due to blockades, traffic was slow, causing inconvenience to users of public and private transit.
Labor Minister Jorge Triaca admitted the country has had difficulties “suffered by some social sectors.”
“In Argentina, dissent is allowed,” said Triaca of the march, who on Friday met with members of the General Confederation of Labour (CGT).
“We believe it is a time of difficulty,” he added, “but we are going from a transition to a better scenario.”
The CGT called for concrete results
Members of the General Confederation of Labour met with the Ministers of Labor, Production and of Health.
The Labour Minister said that it was a “mature” and “deep” discussion during which they analyzed each of the alternatives that the government could bring to fruition, along with workers’ proposals.
Production Minister Francisco Cabrera said the unions are afraid of the effects imports will have on Argentinian employment. He confirmed the government is not going to “let the situation “get out of hand” with regards to industrial sectors, as the government plans to focus on the growth of SMEs.
Meanwhile, one of the members of the CGT, Juan Carlos Schmid, said the meeting “has left a trail of talks but without concrete results. It was almost neutral and the results may give a stronger response in 20 days, because the solutions did not appear in a first meeting.”
Abel Frutos, one of the Secretary GeneralS of the Trade Union Federation, reportedly said scales of income tax were discussed and that promises were made to send the bill to Congress so it will take effect by January 2017.