People in Argentina have staged a protest rally against President Mauricio Macri’s economic policies, which they blame for a rise in unemployment rate in the South American country.
Members of the Association of State Workers (ATE) union and numerous other labor unions joined the public-sector employees for an anti-government march in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, on Thursday.
The demonstration was held under the slogan ‘Neither Hunger nor Layoffs.’
The protesters voiced their anger with government cuts, layoffs and high prices of basic services, calling on authorities to engage in dialog with workers’ unions.
“We are here fighting to reopen the parity in the national state, in the private sector, in the provinces and in the municipalities,” said Hugo Godoy, the ATE secretary general.
Godoy said government employees are staging their seventh strike this year to protest a large number of layoffs in the public sector and the decrease in purchasing power resulting from Macri’s economic policies.
ATE members demanded that their representatives hold meetings with government officials to discuss their terms for stopping protests, while also announcing a nation-wide municipal strike on December 1.
Since gaining power in December 2015, Macri has instituted a policy of austerity and taken actions to devalue the peso resulting in inflation and job losses.
Labor leaders say some 150,000 public-sector workers have lost their jobs since the start of 2016. They seek permanent contracts for some 90,000 federal government employees and some 600,000 public-sector workers in provinces and municipalities.
Macri’s administration says his predecessor, Cristina Fernandez, carried out an eleventh-hour expansion of public-sector payrolls to boost employment figures.
It maintains that Argentina’s public sector is plagued by inefficiencies and in urgent need of a profound restructuring and modernization.
Fernandez, who is under court investigation for corruption charges, claims she is the victim of “political persecution” by Macri