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State employees protest layoffs in Argentina

This photo, taken from social media, purportedly shows Argentineans protesting a recent wave of state employee dismissals, in Buenos Aires, on February 15, 2018.

 

 

Thousands of people have marched on the streets of the Argentinean capital, Buenos Aires, to protest against a recent wave of state employee dismissals as part of austerity measures.

Members of Argentina’s Association of State Workers and their supporters held a strike on Thursday, denouncing the layoffs.

Several unions have united under the banner of “Unity against Austerity and Layoffs,” in nationwide protests scheduled to go on from February 15 to 21.

The government of President Mauricio Macri has adopted austerity measures in an attempt to revive the economy. In January alone, the government laid off 4,000 people.

The protesters called for Macri to step down, saying his economic policies were leading the country toward social disaster. They also demanded the reinstatement of the dismissed workers.

“It will be a day of struggle in the entire country. We unite striking and mobilizing in all the national territory. In every place in the country, the core groups will be present where massive layoffs are taking place,” the Secretary General of the State Workers Association, Hugo Godoy, said in a press conference on Thursday.

A representative of Argentina’s Workers Central Union, Ricardo Peidro, also said, “We will hold days of struggle with a strike by all our organizations and mobilizations.”

According to data from the Association of State Workers (ATE) collected last month, 1,200 federal employees and 1,400 municipal workers in Buenos Aires province have lost their jobs since December last year.

The dismissals came even as the Argentinean government says it exceeded the primary fiscal deficit target set at 4.1 percent of the GDP.

Argentina has seen violent protests over austerity measures since last December, with the largest one taking place in March.

Tens of thousands of state employees have been fired since Macri took office in 2015. He had vowed to reduce spending and consumer prices.

Macri says the measures are needed to attract investments, and end alleged economic failures by his predecessor, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

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