Argentina’s main union calls strike over Milei reforms

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Argentina’s main labor union on Thursday called for a general strike over President Javier Milei’s reforms aimed at liberalizing the country’s economy.

Hector Daer, the general secretary of the General Confederation of Labor (CGT), said the strike on January 24 was in protest against a decree and package of bills announced by Milei, which “go against all of society” and give the president “all public power.”

The libertarian Milei took office on December 10 and has taken steps to fulfill his campaign promise to slash public spending and shake up an economy crumbling under annual inflation of 160 percent.

Congress is sitting in extraordinary session this week to consider a package of bills issued to give effect to a mega-decree he unveiled last week.

The decree can be overturned if it is rejected by both houses of Congress. Otherwise it comes into force on Friday.

The decree would change or scrap more than 350 economic regulations in a country accustomed to heavy government intervention in the market.

“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,” said Daer.

Milei also presented to Congress this week a package of modifications to laws that will allow the privatization of more than 40 public companies and will limit the right to assembly and demonstration.

This “omnibus bill” containing about 600 items affects a number of areas of public and private life, from fiscal and electoral issues, to the calculation of pensions or the introduction of an “express divorce.”

Facing rising protests, Milei’s government has warned demonstrators they will lose their right to social assistance and will be billed for the cost of security.

Thousands of protesters on Wednesday demanded the courts intervene to invalidate the mega-decree they say would carve away at worker and consumer protections.

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