After Teachers, Now Workers March Against Macri in Argentina

After Teachers, Now Workers March Against Macri in Argentina
Fecha de publicación: 
7 March 2017
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This unified protest is a preview for an upcoming national general strike to protest the Macri government.

As workers take to the streets and teachers strike for the second day in a row Tuesday, the Argentine government is set to deal with another national union strike, as the country's largest trade union has vowed to call for a large protest if President Mauricio Macri's administration fails to resolve outstanding labor disputes.

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Tuesday's union march, organized by the General Confederation of Labor, known as CGT, boasts the support of social movements, leftists political parties, doctors, teachers, transportation unions, universities and other organizations that have expressed their discontent with the Macri administration and its economic policies, as well as the soaring 40 percent inflation rate.

"This is the beginning of the struggle plan so they respect the commitments made," said Carlos Acuña, one of the leaders of the CGT. "There are tests on the table, there is no more time for dialogue, they have to comply, it's the only way this situation can be reversed."

The march is a prelude to a strike the CGT is expected to schedule for the end of March or the beginning of April to ramp up pressure on the government if authorities do not fulfill unions' demands for better working conditions.

The announcement of the impending national strike comes as Argentine teachers entered the second day of a 48-hour national strike that postponed the scheduled beginning of the classes in the country in order to demand better working conditions and salary increases. About 50,000 people attended the protest on its first day.

Macri's chief of staff, Marcos Peña, said that the government "shouldn't be afraid or feel threatened" by the mobilization and called on labor leaders to restart dialogue with the administration.

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"We are not going to anticipate (a strike), the unions also have the right to strike, but we do make a call that we could sit at a table," said Peña.

Peña blamed the CGT for failing to reach an agreement on wages and labor security, saying it has "an enormously fragmented representation."

Several politicians and political parties in opposition to Macri announced they would join the protest and demand that the labor union announce a national strike. 

"We are going for the national strike to break the Macri and his governors' austerity," said the leader of the Labor Party, Nestor Pitrola.

Labor issues were in the spotlight throughout Macri's first year in office, as hundreds of thousands of public and private sector workers lost their jobs, prompting fears of rising levels of poverty in the South American country.

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