Labor split on Argentine transit strike

A transport strike in Argentina brought Buenos Aires and other parts of the country to a standstill June 9. The 24-hour walkout—the second in three months—affected bus, train, plane and subway services. The strike was called by the Automotive Transport Union (UTA) to oppose a move by the government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to cap salary increases at 27%, complaining that the figure does not match the forecast 30% inflation expected this year. Highways were blocked and a mass rally held in front of the Labor Mnistry building—but Ministrer Carlos Tomada was dismissive of the action. "This strike is anything but a strike which seeks to defend workers," he told reporters, charging that the workers were "striking against the popular government, and not against their employers."

Fernández also called the action a "politically driven strike that has the objective of generating confusion in the population." Pro-government union leaders joined administration officials in criticizing the strike. Hugo Yasky, secretary-general of the Argentine Workers Central (CTA), said: "This strike has the implicit support of sectors aligned to special economic interests…" (BBC News, TeleSur, InfoBae, InfoBae, June 9)

On May 30, port workers in Argentina's Rosario grain export hub lifted a threat to launch a strike, to allow further negotiations with employers. The San Lorenzo branch of the General Labor Confederation (CGT) announced its decision one day after the grains crushers' union reached a pay deal to end a three-week strike. (Reuters, May 30)