The Argentine Association Labor Lawyers is bringing a case to the United Nations International Commission of Human Rights against President Mauricio Macri and his administration for the “persecution and suppression” of workers rights.
Roberto Baradel, a leader from Unified Workers for Education of Buenos Aires, said that he as well as other union members and their families have been threatened by city-level officials who are a part of Macri’s Cambiemos coalition.
“We denounce these actions meant to discipline and silence workers so that we don’t demand our rights,” Baradel said. He added that government “harassment, intervention, and stigmatization” against workers comes at a time of high unemployment, creating an environment of strong government repression against Argentina’s working class.
Leaders from the Association of State Workers are outraged by the national government’s “mass firings and its campaign to create a stigma around public employment.” Other AAL members voiced that Macri’s labor reforms are “regressive.”
Macri has been on a two-year-long crusade to install neoliberal, pro-market reforms since he took office in December 2015. Over 108,000 public workers were laid off since then. The administration eliminated energy and gas subsidies resulting in a 500 percent price increase for electricity, and a 300 percent jump for natural gas. Public transportation costs are up 100 percent in some areas.
Several Argentine unions staged a major national strike in September to protest these reforms. Macri’s political party won 40 percent of Sunday’s legislative elections, adding fuel to the free-market fire. This week, gas prices once again rose, up by 12 percent in some areas of the country.
“We need to make many reforms,” Macri said. “We've done some already ... but looking ahead, there's still a lot to be done.”
Also denouncing the government at the IACHR in Uruguay yesterday were the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, whose family and friends were disappeared during the 1976-1983 Argentine dictatorship. The group and its lawyers say the Macri administration does not dialogue with them and is stalling the investigation as to the ultimate whereabouts of their loved ones, infringing on their human rights and of the deceased.