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Argentine trade unions and social movements mobilise against Milei’s harsh austerity policies

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Picture: FOL via Peoples Dispatch – Tens of thousands participating in the protest against Milei’s DNU. Trade unions are taking to the streets against the dismissal of 7,000 workers and other anti-people policies that are part of Javier Milei’s recent presidential decree, the writer says.

By Peoples Dispatch

Tens of thousands are expected to mobilise in Buenos Aires, Argentina in front of the country’s courts on Wednesday, December 27, to reject the Decree of Necessity and Urgency (DNU) 70/2023 announced by President Javier Milei on December 20, which severely undermines workers’ rights and promotes the deregulation of the economy.

They will also be protesting the dismissal of 7,000 public workers, outlined in the DNU, and made official through another decree published in the Official Gazette.

The government has warned that it will use “all deterrent measures” in response to the protest including the “Public Order Protocol” announced by Minister of Security Patricia Bullrich on December 14. This protocol authorises the police and security forces to intervene in response to any attempt to partially or totally block any national roads, transportation, or “free movement”. It has been dubbed the “anti-picket” protocol as it targets the historic picket and roadblock tactic of Argentine movements.

Another government “deterrence measure” is the threat from Bullrich that those who participate in protest actions and road blockades that are recipients of social programmes will not receive this support: “he who blocks the street does not get paid”, she declared.

Wednesday’s protest has been called for by the country’s major trade union confederations and social movements such as the General Confederation of Labour (CGT), both Workers’ Central Union of Argentina (CTA), the Association of State Workers (ATE), Frente Patria Grande, and other major left movements and parties.

Trade union and social leaders in the country stated that they are mobilising in front of the courts to highlight the unconstitutionality of Milei’s decree and seek protections from the court to nullify the DNU.

“No one expects us to accept a single layoff,” the General Secretary of ATE Rodolfo Aguiar said in a statement.

He added: “If the government moves forward with these layoffs, workers and families will be directly affected, but indirectly, the entire community will be affected. In the state, any dismissal translates into a loss of rights for all our people.”

This article was published on Peoples Dispatch