Argentina labor union strike leads to stoppage of public transportation services News
Argentina labor union strike leads to stoppage of public transportation services

Argentina’s main labor unions held a 24-hour general strike of bus, train, subway, and airplane services on Thursday to express their discontent with President Javier Milei’s austerity policies. The strike led to the shutdown of transportation services and the emptying of streets as millions of workers joined the stoppage.

The call for the strike was made by the General Confederation of Labor, the Argentine Workers’ Central Union (CTA), and the Autonomous CTA. The three major labor confederations in Argentina stated the strike was “in defense of democracy, labor rights, and a living wage.” Their joint statement read:

We are facing a national government that promotes the removal of labor and social rights, redefining the role of the state by closing and minimizing to its smallest expression important departments and institutions that provide assistance to our population, thus generating hundreds of thousands of layoffs of public servants. It decrees the paralysis of public works, generating enormous unemployment. It carries out a brutal defunding of social security, public health; universities, education, science, and culture, endangering the lives of our elders and the general population, directly affecting the educational quality, the research capacity of the country, and our cultural identity. It promotes dangerous policies of privatization of public companies and the surrender of the resources of the national heritage.

The protests arose to question the controversial Decree 70/2023, which modifies various articles of legislation such as the elimination of labor norms for establishments of up to five workers or the fines for lack of worker registration and the replacement of severance pay by a termination fund. According to workers, the mobilization was convened in reaction to the approval of the “Bases and Starting Points for the Liberty of Argentines” project by the chamber of deputies after it had originally been disapproved. The project is part of Milei’s reform, next to Decree 70/2023, and now goes to the Senate.

On the same day of the strike, the National Labor Court confirmed the provisional measure issued in January that suspends the application of the provisions of the labor chapter of Decree 70/2023.

In response to the strike, the presidential spokesperson stated that “it was the weakest strike in history” and that it sought to keep Argentina “on a path of servitude.” Subsequently, President Milei posted a photo on his Instagram account with the message “I do not stop” in reference to the strike.

Thursday’s strike is the second general strike called by the major labor unions in Argentina. The first general strike against Milei’s austerity measures took place in January, leading to the participation of millions of Argentine workers.