Workers mount massive general strike against right-wing Argentine government
A few public buses drive through empty streets near the Retiro train station during a general strike against the reforms of President Javier Milei in Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 9, 2024. | AP

Argentina’s biggest trade unions mounted one of their fiercest challenges to the free-market fundamentalist government of President Javier Milei today with a mass general strike.

The walkouts led to the cancellation of hundreds of flights and halted key bus, rail, and subway lines. Main avenues and streets, as well as major transportation terminals, were left eerily empty.

The 24-hour strike against Milei’s contentious austerity and deregulation agenda threatened to bring the nation of 46 million to a standstill as banks, businesses, and state agencies closed in protest.

Most teachers couldn’t make it to school and parents kept their kids at home. Rubbish collectors walked off the job, as did health workers, other than in A&Es.

The government said transport service disruptions would prevent 6.6 million people from making it to work. That was apparent during morning rush hour today as few cars could be seen on streets typically snarled with traffic. Rubbish was already piling up on deserted pavements.

CGT, the country’s largest union federation, said it was staging the strike alongside other labor syndicates “in defense of democracy, labor rights and a living wage.”

Argentina’s powerful unions — backed by left-leaning Peronist parties that have dominated national politics for decades — have led the pushback against Milei’s policies on the streets and in courts over recent months.

“We are facing a government that promotes the elimination of labor and social rights,” the unions said.

The government downplayed the disruption as a cynical ploy by its left-wing political opponents.

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Morning Star
Morning Star

Morning Star is the socialist daily newspaper published in Great Britain. Morning Star es el diario socialista publicado en Gran Bretaña.