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USW stands in support of the Argentinian trade union centrals ahead of their national day of mobilization

January 17, 2024

The following solidarity letter was sent to Argentina’s Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT), Central de los Trabajadores y Trabajadoras de la Argentina (CTA-T) and Central de los Trabajadores Argentinos – Autónoma (CTA-A).

The United Steelworkers Union in Canada represents 225,000 members in various sectors of the Canadian economy. We stand in solidarity with the labour movement and working people of Argentina who are mobilizing to oppose measures by the new President Javier Milei, that would gut workers’ rights and criminalize the ability of unions to resist these regressive measures.

Milei’s proposed legislation would increase the precariousness of work and reduce workers’ control over their time, by eliminating most regulations limiting hours of work, curtailing overtime pay, and removing restrictions on the use of outsourcing and informal employment by employers. It would also extend probationary periods of at-will employment from 3 to 8 months and weaken existing equal pay for equal work legislation.

Unions and workers’ organizations are a particular target, with the apparent objective of weakening their ability to resist the government’s decrees, as well as stand up to employers. The proposed anti-labour policies include heavy restrictions on the right to strike, making it difficult to use or ineffective in many sectors, and gives employers the right to fire workers for picketing. The measures further interfere in union activities, including limiting the convening of assemblies and collection of dues.  Especially alarming are modifications to the Penal Code that would criminalize social protest at levels not seen since the last military dictatorship.

President Milei’s neoliberal market program claims prosperity will come about by curtailing workers’ protections and allowing employers to do as they wish, while attacking unions and social movements that resist. This regressive agenda has been seen many times in many places, always resulting in deepening inequality, a rise in precarious employment, and a transfer of wealth and power to the rich.

The Steelworkers stand in solidarity with the resistance by Argentina’s unions, social organizations and neighbourhood assemblies, including the general strike and mobilization to Congress on January 24, 2024. Only the struggle of the people will halt the attack on social and labour rights. La lucha sigue!

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