Graphic credit: CGT Argentina
The Argentine labour movement against far-right savagery
Carlos Amorín, Rel-UITA
Argentina’s General Confederation of Labor (CGT) has called a general strike for January 24 to protest against the Necessity and Urgency Decree (known by its Spanish acronym “DNU”), which contains more than 300 articles that amend or repeal existing laws and was issued by Javier Milei just five days after taking office, and the proposed “Omnibus Law,” a 300-page bill currently under discussion in Congress, which seeks to introduce profound changes in several areas, ranging from the country’s economy to its electoral system.
The call by the CGT is backed by a huge number of organizations, as well as all the other trade union federations, including the Argentine Confederation of Transport Workers (CATT), the Association of State Employees, and the Autonomous Workers’ Federation of Argentina (CTAA).
The strike and the accompanying demonstration—which is likely to be one of the most important in recent years—are staged to protest, above all, the government’s attacks on labor rights in favor of capital, such as the modification of the severance compensation system, the elimination of fines for employees with deficient employment records, the deregulation of funding for the trade union health care system, and the imposition of restrictions on strikes in critical sectors such as health and education.
For her part, Security Minister Patricia Bullrich announced this Thursday, January 18, that when the CGT and the many social organizations supporting the strike march to the seat of the National Congress on January 24, the government will implement a protocol designed to prevent road and street blocks during protests and demonstrations.
Bullrich said that the ministry she heads “will move forward with the protocol to ensure that order reigns in the country” and to prevent “chaos in the streets.” She continued saying, “Some are contributing to the change we need while others are defending interests that have been created over time. The oligarchies defend their interests. We have to fight to the death,” she sentenced in a threatening and dramatic tone, reaffirming the government’s policy of criminalizing social protest.
Meanwhile, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Milei sang praises to capitalism, calling it “the only possible system for ending world poverty,” and added that if that had not been achieved yet, it was only because the West had betrayed its “free market” and “libertarianism” values, yielding to “socialist” temptations. And he called out everyone: “Ultimately there are no major differences. Socialists, conservatives, communists, fascists, Nazis, social democrats, centrists. They are all the same,” he declared to a stunned and bewildered audience. He also spoke against the environmental agenda, feminism, and abortion.
Such is the extent of his extreme position that he managed to unnerve Davos!
In Uruguay, the country’s sole labor confederation, the PIT-CNT, issued a statement in support of the CGT and the strike: “We honor our long history of internationalist solidarity with actions, and call on all trade unions and workers to participate in a demonstration on January 24 at 1:00 p.m. in front of the Argentine embassy in Montevideo, to express our solidarity and our rejection of these anti-popular measures that threaten the life, rights, and liberty of the workers and the people of Argentina in general.”
Click here to read the Council of Global Unions statement on the General Strike in Argentina which denounces the new president’s “raft of draconian, anti-democratic legislation that threatens decades of progress and hard-fought social protections” and calls on the Argentine government to “stop issuing legislation proposals unilaterally, but start negotiating with unions on ways to deal with labor issues.”