The General Confederation of Labor (CGT) unanimously approved, on Thursday night (11), a new general strike against the government of ultra-liberal Javier Milei. The strike was confirmed for May 9th, for 24 hours, along with a calendar of struggles that will begin on April 23rd, when workers will follow a march by universities in defense of public education.

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The protests will be held on May 1st, Labor Day. The date will be marked by mobilizations in all provinces and the publication of a document with the population’s demands.

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This will be the second general strike by Argentine workers in just four months. On January 24, a crowd took to the country’s streets against Milei’s “chainsaw”. Since taking office in December, he has carried out a series of deregulation measures. The social and public spending cuts are brought together in the Decree of Necessity and Urgency (DNU) 70 and the Bill of Bases and Starting Points for the Freedom of Argentines, briefly called Bus Law. All are considered projects of destruction for the population.

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“The impact caused by the price and tariff adjustment that is being carried out with the sole objective of reducing wages, only leads us to an unacceptable recessive process. For this reason, we took the decision to call a 24-hour strike on May 9th,” said union leader Héctor Daer at CGT headquarters shortly after the board of directors meeting this Thursday.

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Strike is urgent

According to information from the Argentine newspaper Page 12, the strike announcement frustrated the government. For the first time, the head of the Civil House, Nicolás Posse, and the Minister of the Interior, Guillermo Francos, met this Wednesday (10) with representatives of the CGT. Shortly after the meeting, President Manuel Adorni’s spokesman said that “there was no reason to strike”. “We didn’t see this before and after the conversation we had (with the union center). We understand that the strike will not exist,” he declared.

Because of this, the strike decree was considered a failure of the ruling party. “The economic and social situation makes it impossible to think about suspending a measure of force”, highlighted the CGT. “We are the axis of the fight against the government, we conquered this place”.

Milei claims that adjustment policies are necessary to organize public finances and debts, such as the country’s US$44 billion debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). At the beginning of April, IMF spokeswoman Julie Kozack classified as “impressive” the supposed progress that the president has been making in managing the Argentine economy. She highlighted that, in January and February, the country recorded a fiscal surplus for the first time in more than a decade. Furthermore, inflation is falling and international reserves are rising.

Milei’s surplus is a ‘scam’

However, as reported by RBA, the “chainsaw” cost-cutting plan has taken a heavy toll on the Argentine population. The IMF’s own forecast is that Argentina’s GDP will record a decline of 2.8% in 2024. According to the Argentine Confederation of Medium Enterprises (Came), the sale of medicines, for example, suffered a drop of 42.4% in first two months of the year. Data from the Social Debt Observatory, of the Argentine Catholic University (UCA), show that the poverty rate in the country rose from 49.5% to 57.4%, reaching its highest level since 2004.

In this sense, the professor of the Bachelor’s Degree in Economic Sciences and the Postgraduate Degree in Economics at the Federal University of ABC (UFABC) Ramon Garcia-Fernandez stated that the success of Milei’s fiscal adjustment is unsustainable. “The surplus in public accounts is being obtained by postponing payments. Even I can do it that way”, joked the Argentine economist who lives in Brazil. “I can increase my savings if I keep getting paid and don’t pay anyone. If you postpone all payments, you will obviously have a surplus. But is this a sustainable strategy? It would look more like a scam.”


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