The general strike against the Macri government’s deal with the International Monetary Fund, structural adjustment, austerity, redundancies, growing poverty and inflation, attempted labor reform, and to demand the reopening of salary negotiations, called by the General Confederation of Labor (CGT), with the support of all trade unions, paralyzed Argentina this Monday, June 25.
In the capital of Buenos Aires, strikers blocked access to the city with a huge march to the central Obelisk monument, surrounded by a mega-mobilization of security forces.
Workers and managers of small and medium companies, who have suffered with the closure of shops, small-scale producers and other sectors that had never participated in such a strike action also mobilized, in what was considered to be the largest general strike in recent years, reported La Jornada.
Train, bus, metro and even air transport came to a stop, while many businesses were closed.
A general strike means the failure of social dialogue and also failed policies, stated Juan Carlos Schmid, CGT leader. He added that unions had reached this point after having exhausted all other alternatives, and stressed that workers are striking in order to be able to continue working.
President Mauricio Macri and other governmental officials criticized the strike. Labor Minister Jorge Triaca said that the move did not help at all. However, he admitted that “The government has to correct its economic program.”
Héctor Daer, of the country’s health union, stressed that health sector workers are paying a disproportionate income tax rate, further impacting their salaries. He also noted that the governmental had not responded to their proposals to protect jobs, the purchasing power of wages and workers’ health.
It was also learned that the workers’ assembly of the Télam state-run national news agency confirmed they had voted on Monday to continue an indefinite strike following the dismissal of two colleagues over the content of a news wire. The Press Union of Buenos Aires (SiPreBa) described the measure adopted by the agency Board as “mistaken” and demanded that the decision be reversed.
“This government has taken money from workers and retirees… in a very clear economic program,” stated Deputy and former Economic minister Axel Kicillof, who added: “Every time something similar has been applied in the country, it has been disastrous, with increasingly destroyed and excluded sectors. It’s a government that opens up imports, lowers wages and reins in public spending, does not finance health or education, so only the big speculators do well.”