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Montevideo, September 24th 2018 - 02:09 UTC

Union leader political rally in Buenos Aires to challenge Macri and his policies

Tuesday, February 20th 2018 - 09:23 UTC
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Moyano and his teamsters, supported by the bank employees and teachers unions are protesting against a 15% cap on the next round of salary negotiations Moyano and his teamsters, supported by the bank employees and teachers unions are protesting against a 15% cap on the next round of salary negotiations
The Macri administration is combating inflation which reached 24.8% last year, and has now established a theoretical flexible objective of 15% The Macri administration is combating inflation which reached 24.8% last year, and has now established a theoretical flexible objective of 15%
Moyano probably the most powerful of all union leaders and with loyal teamsters that can stop Argentina, has chosen to defy and battle Macri. Moyano probably the most powerful of all union leaders and with loyal teamsters that can stop Argentina, has chosen to defy and battle Macri.
The timing has been well chosen, before the round or salary negotiations, and teachers have joined before schools reopen following summer holidays. The timing has been well chosen, before the round or salary negotiations, and teachers have joined before schools reopen following summer holidays.

The Argentine powerful teamsters union will be holding their first political rally in downtown Buenos Aires this Wednesday in a clear defiance of President Mauricio Macri's policies to combat inflation, launch the economy and attract foreign direct investors. Hugo Moyano a member of the unions' umbrella organization has promised to convene some 300.000 workers and has anticipated that any incidents will be the responsibility of the government.

 Moyano and his teamsters, supported by the bank employees and teachers unions are protesting against a 15% cap on the next round of salary negotiations, and demanding an additional end of the year bonus. The Macri administration is combating inflation which reached 24.8% last year, several points ahead of target and for this year has established a theoretical flexible objective of 15%, but as in previous years much will depend on how successful the Macri administration is in reducing the budget deficit and having to appeal to foreign loans to meet ends.

Macri and his administration have accused Moyano's rally as entirely political, with no other purpose but to disregard government policies to control inflation, and protect himself from serious claims of mismanagement (when not appropriation) of union funds, which have turned him into a very rich man, and are now the target of judicial investigations. As has happened with several other union leaders accused of money laundering, fraud and links with narcotics, and are under preventive jail.

The Argentine president victory in last year's midterm elections gave him a huge political boost, although not necessarily in Congress seats, while union leaders have been increasingly discredited following revelations of serious crimes and by the fact that Macri has intelligently divided them, and for the first time in years they face a serious challenge.

Moyano probably the most powerful of all union leaders and with loyal teamsters that can stop Argentina, has chosen to defy and battle Macri. The timing has been well chosen, before the beginning of the round or salary negotiations, and teachers have joined before schools reopen following summer holidays.

Macri has his owns problems, inflation remains stubborn, which has attracted financial investors (carry on trade) and still has to receive the promised direct investment, essential to get the economy rolling overall, not only agriculture and construction, and the creation of jobs. Much has been promised but the atmosphere is still tepid, and pruning the budget (eliminating subsidies from the Kirchner years) remains a liability despite all which has been advanced.

Moyano could finally twist the arm of Macri on the cap issue, but he can't overkill, likewise Macri prefers the courts to expose the union leader, and his assets.

The Macri administration, IMF, World Bank and the Inter American Development bank agree that Argentina is on course to grow plus 3% this and the following years. Whether the corrupt unions can derail the effort to keep their privileges has yet to be seen, but some of the “fat boys”, as they are identified by the media, are nervous. In effect, one of them forecasted that Macri would not end his mandate, and Moyano himself who argued why “a worker can't have things”, said that if he is finally sent to prison, he would like his jail to be next to that of Macri's father, in reference to a deal in the nineties when the Argentine post office was privatized.

Moyano has also defined some of his peers who will not accompany or support him at the rally, --speaking in delicate Thatcher terms as “wets”--, although the teamster used more coarse direct language.

But despite the apparent animosity the platform says the objective of the march is ”an Argentina of rights and equality, defending jobs and Argentine work to ensure workers purchasing power that guarantees the domestic market and production, plus the creation of jobs. Likewise they call on the government to listen to what workers have to say, and to understand that when challenging poverty, inequality and the loss of families' quality of life, all Argentines must stand together.

Likewise as to security during the rally, 2.000 clearly identified members of the union will have the responsibility. Scuffles will be dealt by them, but if things get out of hand and property is threatened or damaged then police, supported by riot forces (armed with rubber bullets), not visible to the marchers, will be ready to intervene. Drone surveillance is also part of the scheme.

Categories: Economy, Politics, Argentina.

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  • Zaphod Beeblebrox

    Reekie,

    “The Feb. 21 march will be a test of how large a portion of the Argentine public opinion still believes president Macri will, somehow, tame inflation and improve the economy after over two years in office.”

    Moyano has promised 300,000 participants. I have no idea what the turnout will be but how many will need to turn up for you to accept Macri is winning? I guess 300,000 = No, 200,000 = Probably not? 100,000 = Probably? 50,000 = Moyano is the new Scargill. Agree your numbers now and we'll see what happens.

    “limiting wage increases to 15 per cent”

    If Macri is smart, this is probably a negotiating position.

    “the resignation of under secretary general of the presidency, Valentín Díaz Guilligan, after he 'forgot' to declare US $1.2 million he had in an Andorran bank account.”

    So he was corrupt and is no longer in the government as a result. Seems fair to me.

    “Macri had disregarded calls for the resignation of several ministers, such as security minister Patricia Bullrich, energy minister Juan Manuel Aranguren, labour minister Jorge Triaca among others.”

    Is there evidence of corruption?

    “most Argentines would cheer if small steps were taken...in the right direction.”

    The economy is growing, employment is increasing, inflation is less than it was. Aren't these small steps in the right direction? Of course you are not “most Argentines” and you'll never be satisfied until CFK is back in power and stealing from most Argentines again.

    Feb 20th, 2018 - 07:41 pm +1
  • Zaphod Beeblebrox

    You didn't answer my question. Let me rephrase:

    How many people will need to turn up for Moyano's rally for you to accept that he has failed to get the support he wanted and, by implication, more Argentines support Macri?

    Remember, Moyano is predicting 300,000.

    a. Less than 200,000?
    b. less than 100,000?
    c. less than 50,000?
    d. Another number?

    Go on, give me a prediction.

    Feb 21st, 2018 - 06:48 pm +1
  • Zaphod Beeblebrox

    EM,

    “Has failed?”

    The fact that you didn't answer my question speaks volumes. I believe that the highest estimate was around 100,000.

    ”You may be too young or else you haven't learned much. The large demonstration that took place today is not the end--it is rather a beginning.“

    I am old enough to know that it is too early to call it a beginning.

    ”The opposition to the Macri government has been atomized for a long time--it is such division that allowed Cambiemos to get the presidency--and it is division what has so far prevented an effective opposition.“

    Agreed.

    ”As such, today's demonstration is a first attempt of unions, political parties and social organizations to come together on some common points so that they can become an option for the people.“

    And yet it seems to have caused a split within the unions with many unions refusing to ask their members to join in so it may not be the beginning you are hoping for.

    ”was totally peaceful. (The unions had people looking for any agents provocateurs).”

    This is good. It seems to me that Moyano's language has changed and he asked people to stop anti-Macri chants and wants to talk to Macri. Is he softening in the face of a new reality? Apparently many workers didn't attend because they didn't see the point given that their working conditions had improved so much in the last 12 months.

    Ramón Ayala, UATRE (rural workers’ union), speaking with FM La Patriada: “The march doesn’t make any sense, workers are better off than before. It’s a march that is completely based on one sector, the majority has decided not to go because it doesn’t reflect the workers’ movement. Without a doubt, workers are better off now than in the last 12 years. We’ve achieved great things.”

    Feb 22nd, 2018 - 06:30 pm +1
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