Viet Nam News
BUENOS AIRES — Tens of thousands of Argentines marched in a noisy protest Friday against job cuts imposed under President Mauricio Macri’s economic reforms.
The demonstration virtually brought central Buenos Aires to a standstill amid a din of drums and chants.
Two major labor unions, the CGT and CTA, joined forces in calling the rally against the conservative president’s cuts to spending and public jobs.
"The whole workers’ movement is going to mobilize against layoffs, cuts and poverty, which is deepening under Macri’s government," said Jose Rigane, leader of one of the branches of the CTA.
Private and public sector workers joined in Friday’s march and planned a further demonstration on Sunday to mark International Workers’ Day.
Macri has passed a series of economically liberal reforms since taking office on December 10, vowing to strengthen the economy over the long term after 12 years of leftist rule.
He has cut public sector contracts, raised utility prices and passed financial reforms that critics say are hurting workers’ wages and spending power.
Unions say 100,000 workers have lost their jobs in the public and private sectors since Macri took office.
The government says it laid off 11,000 public workers in the first quarter of this year.
Doctors, teachers, banking employees and civil servants have staged protests over recent months.
Unions demand Macri bring down the soaring rate of inflation, which has driven up the price of food. Analysts forecast the rate will be 36 percent this year.
The president suffered his first defeat this week when opposition senators approved a bill that aims to halt the layoffs. He could veto the bill but that could be politically costly.
Macri was far away from the capital on Friday in a northern region where he launched a water production program that the government says will generate 200,000 jobs.
"We are working on all the issues they are raising," he said of the protesters. — AFP