Second national strike of Milei era is now underway

Labor unions are protesting the government’s reform measures and austerity policies

The second national strike since the beginning of President Javier Milei’s administration is currently underway. The General Confederation of Labor (CGT, for its Spanish initials) called for the work stoppage to protest Milei’s sweeping reform package known as the Ley Bases, which was recently approved by the Lower House, and the government’s austerity policies.

The CGT’s first strike took place 45 days after the presidential inauguration, while Thursday’s measure comes shortly after the government’s first five months in office. 

Although there were some attempts to talk in the early days of the Milei administration, there has been virtually no dialogue between the CGT and the government. With the Ley Bases and a labor reform about to be approved, the unions are back on the streets.

The strike is also a way of putting pressure on the legislators who are currently debating the government’s bill in the Senate. If there are no unforeseen events, an opinion would be drafted in the next few days and would reach the floor next week.   

CGT leaders are set to give a press conference at 3.30 p.m. to talk about the strike 

All the CGT’s unions are taking part in the 24-hour protests. This means that a vast section of activities will be halted through Thursday. Here is a list of the major sectors that will be affected by the protest.

Buses, trains, subways, and flights

Aerolíneas Argentinas will not operate, confirming the cancellation of 191 flights. The Airline Pilots Association (APLA, for its Spanish initials) confirmed that they will adhere to the measure.

“Of the total number of people affected by this measure, about 18,000 were scheduled to travel domestically. There were 3,000 set to board regional flights and another 3,000 on international flights. Close to 8,000 passengers had already changed their flights, and the remaining 15,000 will be able to change their tickets free of charge up to 7 days after the date of the strike”, the company said in a statement. Meanwhile, the rest of the companies are designing their new flight schedules.

Bus and train unions are also taking part in the protests, and therefore will halt all services throughout the day.            

Subte workers grouped in the union Asociación Gremial de Trabajadores del Subte y Premetro (AGTSyP – Metrodelegadxs) are taking part of the strike. Therefore, there will be no service on any of the subway lines or on the premetro for 24 hours.

Banks and retail commerce

The Banking Association union confirmed it would join the general strike called by the CGT. Because of this, all country banks will be closed.

“Because the economic policy carried out by the government does not stop harming workers and people as a whole, while shamelessly favoring big business, economic groups and the real power, the Banking Association adheres to the measure called by the General Confederation of Labor”, said union leader Sergio Palazzo.

Retail and restaurant workers are also joining the protests, albeit with a few caveats. “The situation is complicated for the sector because consumption has plummeted. We adhere to the strike, but owners will probably open anyway”, a spokesperson from one of the sectors said. They believe that many workers will have to go anyway to protect their jobs.

Large supermarket chains and shopping centers are not expected to work on Thursday either. The head of the Argentine Federation of Commerce and Service Employees Federación Argentina de Empleados de Comercio y Servicios (FAECyS, for its Spanish initials), Armando Cavalieri, issued a statement announcing that the union as a whole would adhere to the measure.

Hospitals and emergency rooms

The general strike will also affect healthcare. The Health Union, headed by Héctor Daer and which represents workers of private hospitals, as well as the organizations working in public health, joined the strike.

Only emergency service will be maintained on Thursday, as is usually the case in these situations. Scheduled surgeries will be postponed.

Business organizations reject the strike

The Argentine Chamber of Commerce and Services (CAC) expressed its opposition to the strike called by the CGT for May 9, calling it an “unjustified and inopportune” measure.

“It is striking that five months after the government took office, a second general strike is already taking place, when during the four years of the previous presidential term there was not even a single protest of these characteristics, when the economic and social panorama at that time was far from being idyllic”, said the business entity.



All Right Reserved.  Buenos Aires Herald