Hundreds of thousands of Argentinians ground the country to a halt Wednesday, as workers across the country walked off the job to protest the far-right, anti-democratic policies of newly elected President Javier Milei.
The 24 January general strike was the largest display of opposition yet to a harmful raft of economic and political reforms that the president, seven weeks into his tenure, likens to “shock therapy.” Unions say the legislative moves, the decree of necessity and urgency (DNU) and the bill to reform the State (known as omnibus law), would roll back decades of hard-fought protections for workers, for the environment and for democracy itself in the country.
“We are going to continue the fight until the DNU falls and they reject the omnibus law, proclaimed the general secretary of the CGT and UNI affiliate FATSA, Héctor Dáer during a massive rally in Buenos Aires’ Plaza del Congreso. Dáer is also president of UNI Americas.
In addition to widespread support in Argentina, the general strike also generated solidarity around the world.
The Council of Global Unions, representing workers in roughly 170 countries, issued a statement of support saying:
We request that the Argentine government stop issuing legislation proposals unilaterally ands start negotiating with unions on ways to deal with labour issues.
We also stand with local actions supporting Argentine unions worldwide to actively oppose these regressive policies that threaten the foundations of a democracy.
We cannot allow democratic backsliding in Argentina. We must act now.
UNI Global Union sent a letter, signed by General Secretary Christy Hoffman and UNI Americas Regional Secretary Marcio Monzane, to President Milei in support of the strike and condemning the changes to law:
The illegal reforms that your government intends to make clearly and plainly contradict fundamental international law, such as the right to strike and demonstrate, enshrined in international agreements signed by Argentina.
National unions in dozens of countries took the streets and showed solidarity as well including in Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Germany, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru, Paraguay, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay.