Argentine union leader Roberto Baradel says he has been receiving anonymous threats by email after speaking out against the government.
"Last night I received an anonymous email telling me not to talk," Baradel, secretary general of the Unified Teachers Union of Buenos Aires (Subteba), said Thursday. "They threatened me and my family."
According to Baradel, the threat he received read: "We are coming for you and the union. We hold the power in Argentina – the judges and the press."
Speaking to local media, Baradel said: "They told me they were going to do whatever they wanted and that we (the union) shouldn't confront (the government)."
The email threat comes as Baradel and Suteba are demanding a 15 percent salary increase from the Buenos Aires provincial government, citing the national inflation rate currently hovering around 23 percent.
Union officials presented their proposal to the government earlier this week, but were met with a government decree banning them from meeting with authorities to discuss their demands.
"To the Government: An end to the eduction worker's struggle cannot be decreed. An end to the struggle to protect education cannot be decreed. A stop to our dedication for a just and egalitarian society cannot be decreed."
On Tuesday, Buenos Aires Governor Maria Eugenia Vidal decreed that unions will not be allowed to meet with provincial authorities to discuss a raise. She represents Cambiemos, the ruling party of President Mauricio Macri.
In response, Baradel said: "We're going to make a formal denouncement… to the United Nations, to UNESCO, and we're going to denounce the government to the OIT (International Workers Organization) because we were denied a seat at the negotiating table."
The email arrived in Baradel's inbox less than 24 hours later, in the wake of the government's efforts to disaffiliate members from their unions or simply dissolve those unions altogether.
Earlier this week, members of the United Teachers Front (UTF) met with the following message when they tried to log on to the Culture and Education Ministry website: "You are registered as a current member of the UTF. To begin the process of resigning from the (union) click HERE."
In late December, the Buenos Aires provincial government did away with the Provincial Workers' Union (PWU) in La Plata, leaving 380 PWU public workers jobless.
Baradel and other union leaders spoke out vehemently against the moves, saying officials are overstepping their jurisdiction.
"It's clear that there's an environment of aggression against… unions… and those who defend workers rights. That's why I'm getting threats," Baradel said. "We're going to present a case to the court. We've already sent the evidence to the Federal Police."