The News
The News
Monday 15 of August 2022

Argentine Unions Flex Muscle in Anti-Government Street Protest


Economic reforms have sparked protests in the past weeks, as on April 19 when demonstrators march towards the Labor Ministry against  inflation and layoffs.,photo: Reuters/Enrique Marcarian
Economic reforms have sparked protests in the past weeks, as on April 19 when demonstrators march towards the Labor Ministry against inflation and layoffs.,photo: Reuters/Enrique Marcarian
Argentinian President Mauricio Macri faces growing protests as the economic reforms praised abroad foster unrest at home

BUENOS AIRES – Thousands of Argentines took to the streets of the capital on Friday to protest the policies of President Mauricio Macri, a taste of the backlash he faces for economic reforms that have swelled the ranks of the poor.

A man looks at graffiti that reads "No to the debt payment" in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Photo: Reuters/Marcos Brindicci
A man looks at graffiti that reads “No to the debt payment” in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Photo: Reuters/Marcos Brindicci

Protesters, waving flags and chanting anti-government slogans, demanded an end to public sector job cuts and plummeting buying power in a demonstration called by the country’s biggest unions.

“We are losing buying power in a significant way,” Pablo Micheli, the secretary general of the Argentine Workers’ Union, told Reuters.

“We are hoping that the government will come to the table to talk. If not, we could call a general strike for the end of May or the first half of June.”

By sharply devaluing the peso, loosening price controls and ending utility subsidies since taking office in December, Macri has sent inflation surging, leaving those at the bottom of the economic heap scrambling to pay food and gas bills.

At the same time, the business-friendly leader’s efforts to trim government payrolls have eliminated thousands of public sector jobs. The opposition estimates that up to 150,000 people could lose their jobs this year.

In an attempt to stem the job losses, the opposition is trying to push a law through Congress that would guarantee generous redundancy payments. Macri has said he would veto it.

Although Wall Street has praised Macri’s policies as a long-needed correction to years of government intervention and idiosyncratic economic policy under his leftist predecessors, the opposition retains strong support in the country.