Argentina’s trade union federations call for national strike on January 24

The CGT will also carry out a ‘massive’ march to Congress that day to protest Milei’s mega-decree

Argentina’s trade union federation called for a national strike for January 24 to protest the mega-decree President Javier Milei issued last week. The federation, called the General Confederation of Labor (CGT by its Spanish acronym), will be marching en masse to Congress, according to a communiqué released on Thursday.

“This is in response to a decree that is illegal and unconstitutional,” Héctor Daer, one of the three CGT leaders, said at a rally in the federation’s headquarters. The CGT encompasses nearly two out of three unionized workers in Argentina and has three leaders: Daer (Healthcare Union), Carlos Acuña (Dredging and Signaling Union), and Juan Carlos Schmidt (Valets Union).

Two other trade federations, Argentina’s Workers Central and the Autonomous Argentine Workers Central Central, joined the CGT’s call for a national strike. The informal worker’s union (UTEP, by its Spanish initials) will also join the protest.

The last time the CGT called for a national strike was in 2019, when they protested against then-President Mauricio Macri’s austerity measures and the record-high debt he had taken out with the International Monetary Fund.

“There is neither a need nor an urgency for so many articles that turn the administrative matrix of our country upside down,” Daer added.

The union leader also said the decree targets workers’ individual and collective rights, including the healthcare system. He said that the mega-decree forced the CGT to march on Wednesday after filing a complaint calling for the unconstitutionality of the norm. The legal presentation made by the union federation is not the only complaint that has been filed  against the mega-decree — lawyer Andrés Gil Domínguez filed one calling the project a “covert constitutional reform” and a “coup d’etat.”

The decree will impact tariffs and healthcare while completely deregulating the economy, overturning laws that protect workers, including the right to strike, and limiting benefits like severance pay and maternity leave. “This is a clear fund transfer to a small sector of society, which has the most and earns the most,” Daer said.

Daer also called CGT delegations nationwide to a plenary meeting on January 10 to develop strategies, as well as the march on January 24 to Congress to support senators and deputies that reject the mega-decree.

The union leader added that, while they were marching on Wednesday, they found out that the so-called “omnibus” bill had been sent to Congress. The bill aims to give Milei the power to legislate without having to go through Congress during his tenure. “We would be facing a president who would have the sum of all public authority for his entire term in office,” Daer said.

If approved, the bill would also give Milei the power to privatize 41 state-owned companies and to transfer the Sustainability Guarantee Fund (FGS), a sovereign investment fund that partly finances retirement pensions, to the Executive Branch.

“The country is not for sale,” Daer said, quoting a chant that was heard in the cacerolazos all over Argentina after the decree was first announced.


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