A recently-published report written by Argentina’s Political Economy Center, or CEPA, reveals that in 2018 an average of 4,368 workers were fired every month. According to the report, titled “No Bounceback on Employment: An Analysis of Layoffs in 2018,” the most affected have been public sector workers, who account for 46 percent of all layoffs, and industrial workers, who account for 38 percent.
The same group has registered 76,359 layoffs between November 2016 and June 2018. Despite massive protests against President Mauricio Macri’s economic policies and layoffs in the public sector, Macri’s government has defended the measures and recently announced more massive layoffs and income freezes.
In the public sector, most layoffs took place in decentralized agencies like the National Scientific and Technical Research Council, the National Industrial Technology Institute, and National Food Safety and Quality Service. Within the executive branch, layoffs have particularly hit workers in the ministries of agroindustry, social development and economy.
Other layoffs have affected people who worked for state-owned companies, including Nucleoelectrica Argentina which runs the country’s nuclear energy plants since 1994, and Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales (YPF) engaged in oil and gas exploration and production, and the transportation, refining, and marketing of gas and petroleum products.
YPF, Argentina’s oil company was renationalized in 2012 after being privatized in the early 1990s.
Layoffs in the public sector have been criticized by unions, social movements, and opposition politicians who argue Macri’s government has deepened the deficit by providing a series of tax cuts that benefit agro-exporters, foreign investment, and importers. In that context CEPA researchers stress the Argentine government has chosen a path of austerity that affects the working class.
For the private sector, the report identifies the textile, food and beverage, metallurgy, and autoparts as the hardest hit industries.