Argentina’s powerful organized labour even divided have agreed that the recent rise in the income tax floor announced by the government of President Cristina Fernandez is ‘not enough’ and industrial action is anticipated as soon as next March, when full activity resumes in Argentina following summer holidays.
The head of the CTA umbrella union, Pablo Micheli, and the secretary general of the Court workers union, Julio Piumato, agreed that the increase in the income tax floor is insufficient and announced a joint street protest for March.
Micheli pointed out that “no one can say that a 20% hike meets all the expectations of the average workers”, arguing that if workers who paid an income tax in 2012 would also have to pay it this year.
“We could say that our strikes, demonstrations and demands managed to obtain that 20%. Had we done nothing, we wouldn’t have gotten anything,” Micheli said after he announced the new protests.
The union leader insisted this is “not a real raise”, for which the CGT and the CTA organizations were planning on taking it to the streets.
“(Hugo) Moyano and I agreed to talk again because we’re again thinking of going back to the streets. We still don’t know whether it will be a demonstration or a march, but we will be there protesting because this isn’t a raise,” he emphasized.
“We’re losing in broad daylight,” he said regarding the Government’s decision. “What will await us once the economy stops doing as well as it’s doing now?” he concluded.
Piumato is a member of the anti-government CGT umbrella union run by Hugo Moyano and complained that “the same people are going to pay income tax as last year,” despite the increase in the income tax floor.
“We were aspiring to a 50% increase, because last year the wage increase was hardly noticed. That’s why a 20% increase is unacceptable.”
“Our salary is not income tax. The fact that the balancing of this tax is completely out of date puts pressure on the company and on the worker,” Piumato added.
The union leader speaking to a local radio station in Buenos Aires said that “we have to take into account certain factors like renting. A worker that earns 7500 pesos who is affected by paying income taxes and who has to pay for renting will never be able to access a mortgage.”
“The government is not willing to change the tributary system, which puts pressure on wages and more humble sectors”.