Social organizations and trade unions marched up to Argentina's Congress Tuesday, protesting against the neoliberal policies implemented since conservative President Mauricio Macri took office in December.
The march and a 48-hour strike were both called for in February by Argentina's main trade union Argentina Workers Union (CTA).
The march had for slogan “Not one more dismissal, not one less worker!” as workers demanded the end of the massive layouts carried out in the public and private sectors. They also protested against the recent announcement that energy prices would soon skyrocket, possibly making electricity bills rise by up to 500 percent. Protesters also demanded a 40 percent pay rise, adjusted to the country's inflation rate.
They rejected what they condemned as the criminalization of social protests and demand an anti-terrorist bill and an anti-strike measure be revoked.
While the national strike began Thursday, workers at the national lottery protested against 200 dismissals, with the presence of the police.
"The assembly of the National Lottery goes all in"
According to local media, many of them had permanent work contracts since 2008; others were interim workers, and others were employed via agreements with various universities.
When he took office, Macri demanded to review the contracts of 63,000 workers in the public sector, alleging they were “ gnocchis,” a term that refers in Argentina to lazy workers who only show up to collect a paycheck.
According to a CTA report released in the beginning of February, at least 50,000 workers from the public and private sectors have been fired in almost two months of Macri government, and 25,000 more in the construction sector.
Aside from the dismissals, Macri’s decisions to spike electricity prices, scrap the country’s media law, cut education spending, increase censorship, and rule by decree, among other moves, have sparked public outrage and a wave of protests against the right-wing policy agenda.