CTA says 15,000 state workers have been firedMonday, January 11, 2016
Unions, Kirchnerite leaders blast ‘austerity measures, repression’
As anger continued to rise yesterday over the sacking of between 12,000 and 15,000 state workers by President Mauricio Macri’s administration, Kirchnerite lawmakers and union representatives accused the government of deliberate repression and of trying to implement harsh austerity measures.
“The model of austerity and economic concentration can only be implemented with repression and shielding by the media,” Andrés “Cuervo” Larroque, one of the leaders of the Kirchnerite youth group La Cámpora, said yesterday regarding the recent repression of protests convened by sacked state employees at the hands of the local police.
In La Plata, Buenos Aires province, some 4,500 state employees were sacked by the mayor and ally of the Macri administration Julio Garro, leading to a mass demonstration on Friday to protest the measures which was dispersed by police forces with tear gas and rubber bullets, who injured scores of demonstrators in the process.
The move came just days after high-ranking government figures including Vice-President Gabriela Michetti announced the sacking of thousands of Senate staff employees and the firing of hundreds of workers from the recently opened Néstor Kirchner Cultural Centre (CCK) in downtown Buenos Aires.
Both Michetti and the head of state-run media Hernán Lombardi said that the decision to lay off thousands of employees was due to their appointments by the last government of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and that they were consequently hired hands or “political appointments” as Michetti insisted.
However, Larroque said yesterday that the government justification for the sacking of thousands of state employees was a political smoke screen, calling Michetti’s “no-show workers” explanation an excuse to implement a reform of the state.
“This situation is avoidable. They have used the excuse (of political appointments) when they could have chosen to implement another policy altogether,” he said, adding that the policy was an attempt to “shrink the state” by Macri’s administration.
“In the last few days we have lived through madness in Argentina,” he added. “Hopefully the government, both national and provincial, take action on the matter and reflect on these methodologies we thought we had left in the past, because repression against the people is something that we though we would never see again in Argentina.”
CTA slams mass sackings
Meanwhile, union leaders also joined the Kirchnerite opposition in slamming the mass firings of state employees.
José “Pepe” Peralta, secretary-general of the CTA umbrella union yesterday said the move was a deliberately punitive one taken by Macri’s centre-right Let’s Change (Cambiemos) coalition against workers.
The state employees were sacked “to discipline the working class in the immediate future, as a strategy to condition the situation ahead of the wage negotiations this year,” Peralta said.
In statements made known through a press release, he said that the move was taken to allow Macri’s administration to move the national discourse away from the key concerns workers faced in the year ahead.
“The government is seeking to change the focus of the discussion to talk about reinstatement, rather than rising wages or job insecurity,” he concluded.
Herald staff with DyN