Argentina: call for general strike in January against the new president's ultraliberal reform program

For the first time in Argentina's 40 years of democracy, a president faces a general strike just a month and a half after taking office

Argentina: call for general strike in January against the new president's ultraliberal reform program

For the first time in Argentina's 40 years of democracy, a president faces a general strike just a month and a half after taking office.

Hector Daer, general secretary of the CGT – the main trade union center in Argentina which claims 7 million members – announced, Thursday, December 28, at a press conference a general strike to protest against the first decrees and bills of the presidency ultraliberal attitude of the new president, Javier Milei.

A mobilization is also planned before Parliament which will then examine deregulatory bills “which go against all of society” and concentrate “all public powers” ​​on the president, said Mr. Daer. This mobilization, continued the union leader, targets in particular a “decree of necessity and emergency” published on December 20 by the government, opening the way to massive deregulation of the economy, but of an “illegal and unconstitutional character”. .

“This decree attacks the individual rights of workers, collective rights, a universal and united health system, and an incalculable number of subjects that constitute our country,” insisted Mr. Daer. “In less than a week they are transforming Argentina and bringing us back to pastoral Argentina,” he denounced.

"Loi to all"

Javier Milei, ultraliberal and “anarcho capitalist” as he describes himself, has since his inauguration on December 10 published a decree to deregulate the economy through the repeal of some 300 standards. A decree technically in force from Friday, but subject to subsequent approval by Parliament.

He also continued his "liberal" momentum by submitting to Parliament on Wednesday a detailed set of projects or amendments to laws, affecting a multitude of areas of the public and private sphere: a jumble of fiscal to electoral, to the day of work, the calculation of pensions, the control and sanctions of demonstrations, or the establishment of an “express divorce”.

This vast package of reforms, known as the “omnibus law”, must also be examined by Parliament, and legal opinions differ on the actual time – months, even years according to some – that it would take to examine the approximately 600 articles .

Another question concerns the outcome itself of the parliamentary process on certain controversial provisions, with a parliament without an absolute majority in either chamber. And where Milei's party, Libertad Avanza, is only the third force - even if it can count on the support of the center-right bloc, the second in importance.

Demonstrations and legal recourse

The mobilization did not wait, however, with three demonstrations in just over a week in Buenos Aires, and several legal appeals filed against the emergency decree of December 20. Including some by the CGT itself on Wednesday.

A first series of austerity measures announced in the early days of the Milei presidency are already in effect, and with an immediate effect on the Argentinean wallets. Thus the devaluation of more than 50% of the peso, the national currency, and the reduction from the beginning of January in transport and energy subsidies, resulting in an immediate increase in prices destined to affect the daily lives of several million Argentines .

The objective for the government is the drastic reduction of Argentina's chronic budget deficit, mired in inflation at 160% over one year.