Thousands of workers are marching to Argentina’s Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires Tuesday against government-imposed reforms that affect employees, retirees and trade unions.
Led by the General Confederation of Workers, CGT, the country’s largest labor union, and the Center of Argentine Workers, CTA, the march will protest President Mauricio Macri’s labor and pension reforms, which they call “repressive.”
Workers claim the labor reforms undercut workplace rights, lower wages and make union organizing more difficult. Meanwhile, they claim the pension reforms increase commodity prices and cut the number of available beneficiaries.
“We are the employees who forge the Nation, the foundation for the big building that is the country and that depends only on us,” said CGT Secretary Juan Carlos Schmid.
“The march consolidates the CGT and allows us to have a single voice against the attacks, because nothing good will happen if this project continues to succeed.”
The march, joined by the Workers Confederation for a Popular Economy, Communities on Foot, the Classist and Combative Current and a number of former Pepsico employees, will begin at 1:00 p.m. local time.
Pepsico union leaders, who have also been organizing against layoffs and repression, have called on workers to support the CGT and CTA’s march.
Macri’s government, on the other hand, argues that the protest is a result of a “crisis” of trade unionism and considers the demonstration to be an “error.”
Argentine Interior Minister Rogelio Frigerio said in an interview with local radio station Radio Miter that unions are experiencing “a transition” and that their demands contradict what he claims are signs of economic growth and rising employment.
Macri’s austerity measures have led to more than 179,000 job cuts in the public and private sectors since 2016.