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Recession-hit Argentina faces general strike

Update: April, 06/2017 - 10:31

BUENOS AIRES  Workers have vowed a general strike in recession-hit Argentina on Thursday, drawing complaints from President Mauricio Macri as he prepares to host leaders and businesspeople for an economic forum.

The strike raises pressure on Macri as he struggles to help Argentina recover from recession ahead of mid-term legislative elections in October.

He took office in December 2015 vowing to rescue the flagging economy, open up trade and draw investment after 12 years of leftist government.

The economy remains bogged down, having shrunk 2.3 per cent last year, though it ticked upwards in January.

But ordinary Argentines are suffering: a third of them are living in poverty, according to official figures.

Inflation is in double figures while jobs and salaries have been cut in Macri’s efforts to stabilise public finances.

His reforms have sparked mass street protests over recent months, culminating in Thursday’s planned strike.

Three major labour unions have called for a general stoppage, though it remains to be seen to what extent it will be followed.

Macri complained during a speech on Wednesday that the strike "does not help workers at all," accusing unions of "mafia-like behaviour".

The wealthy businessman-turned-president has been hit in recent months by allegations of financial conflicts of interest which the courts are investigating.

The strike on Thursday coincides with the World Economic Forum on Latin America, which draws business and political leaders to Buenos Aires. – AFP 

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