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Argentina Striking workers bring Buenos Aires to a standstill

STRIKING public-sector workers brought Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires to a standstill today in protest at IMF-ordered austerity measures, including redundancies, non-payment of wages and cuts to social programmes.

Teachers, who have been especially hard hit, walked out and planned to tie up 40 streets in the city centre to demand a 24 per cent pay rise.

 

 

This followed a two-day walkout by a number of education unions on March 5 and 6.

Teachers insist that the government should ensure their salaries will keep pace with the inflation rate, which has hovered at 25 per cent for nearly a year.

The Metro underground railway and other public institutions were also closed in protest at President Mauricio Macri’s neoliberal policies.

The government’s anti-working-class stance has encouraged some employers to derecognise unions.

One of those affected is Metro union Metrodelegados, whose leader Roberto Pianelli said: “We have no other alternative than to take these measures to defend workers.”

Unions in the legal and heath sectors also took action, after Association of State Workers (ATE) leader Daniel Catalano said: “The 12 per cent offered makes it difficult get to the end of the month.

“It’s hard not to be poor in a city with a budget for the rich.”

Fellow ATE leader Oscar de Isasi said: “We categorically reject the 15 per cent salary increase. We want negotiations to include all workers, including healthcare professionals who weren’t invited to the table.

“We demand an end to the firing and the rehiring of all workers.”

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