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  • Unions protest in Argentina against Macri's austerity policies.

    Unions protest in Argentina against Macri's austerity policies. | Photo: EFE

Published 1 October 2018

Panels will be organized to debate the expenditures set by the executive branch of the government, and to disseminate alternative proposals during the five days of the campaign.

The Argentine Workers' Central Union, widely known as the CTA, will set up a tent Monday at 5:00 pm local time until Friday in front of the Congress for five days where discussions and debates will be held regarding the 2019 budget project of the Macri government.

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On Tuesday the agenda includes a discussion of budget, public employment, and gender; security and defense Wednesday; health, labor and production Thursday; and education, science and technology Friday.

Opposition deputies and senators will present their criticisms against the official budget. The tent will also include tables where workers affected by the austerity measures will enlighten the public about their situations.

A collective of social political and professional organizations also called for a rally Thursday in defense of public health starting at the Ministry of Health to Buenos Aires' main square Plaza de Mayo. The march will be against the elimination of the health budget, the gutting and shutting down of social programs, the reduction in medicine and basic supplies such as; contraceptive methods that guarantee sexual, reproductive and non-reproductive health, and resources that guarantee the Protocol of Legal Interruption of Pregnancy.

The camp will have the slogan "Against the budget of the IMF — for work, production and sovereignty."

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President Mauricio Macri signed a US$50 billion emergency loan with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that is supposed to reduce Argentina’s debt. But since the announcement of the deal in June, the Argentine peso has lost 30 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar.

The 2019 Budget Project doubled the fund for debt repayment while cutting back on education, health, subsidies for public services, and transportation. Macri claimed that austerity policies will help the fiscal condition of the country but workers have experienced 34 percent inflation since last year without any wage increase. This measure also resulted in slashing 35,100 public sector jobs.

The country has been witnessing surges of protest and strikes by unions against the austerity measures, while the Argentine president was in New York for the 73rd UNGA, and met with IMF chief Christine Lagarde, and bankers from Citi Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JP Morgan, and UBS. He expressed his plans to run for re-election during the meeting with the bankers last Monday.

On Tuesday, the president of Argentina's Central Bank, Luis Caputo, resigned from his post in the midst of efforts to negotiate a deal with the IMF to stem a currency crisis and large-scale national strikes, which have crippled public services.

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