Social movements and unions have gathered to protest against austerity policies implemented by President Mauricio Macri’s government. They are demanding a halt to layoffs in the public sector, the repeal of pension reforms approved in December and the declaration of a food emergency.
Nationwide protests are being held from Thursday, Feb. 15 to Wednesday, Feb. 21. Argentina’s Autonomous Worker’s Central Union, the State Workers Association, the Standing Neighborhoods Movement, the Class-Conscious and Combative Trend and the Confederation of Workers of the Popular Economy have united under the “Unity Against Austerity and Layoffs” banner.
Other groups directly affected by layoffs have also joined the protests. Among them are former workers of the Posadas hospitals, the National Commission for Atomic Energy, the National Institute of Industrial Technology and miners of Rio Turbio.
Demonstrators have blocked downtown Buenos Aires' main avenues. They are marching to Plaza de Mayo, which is in front of Argentina’s presidential residence, The Pink House, and only blocks away from Argentina’s Congress.
Protesters have also taken the streets of Rosario, Cordoba, Jujuy and La Plata.
#AHORA (#NOW) We are gathering in La Plata and around the country to go to the governorships to demand work for the cooperatives of the popular economy. #SiAlTrabajo (#YestoWork) #NoAlAjuste (#NoToAusterity).
The Secretary General of the State Workers Association, Hugo Godoy, said in a press conference Thursday “it will be a day of struggle in the entire country. We unite striking and mobilizing in all the national territory. In every place in the country, the core groups will be present where massive layoffs are taking place.”
A representative of Argentina’s Workers Central Union, Ricardo Peidro, asserted “we will hold days of struggle with a strike by all our organizations and mobilizations.”
Demonstrators also oppose the proposed labor reform. Macri proposed labor reforms last year to "boost competition," but they are opposed by labor leaders who argue the reforms will erode workers' rights by generalizing temporary work, making it easier for companies to fire workers, and lowering contributions to the social security system.