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In a surprising move, Argentine members of Congress freeze their salaries and allowances for 180 days

Saturday, December 28th 2019 - 09:49 UTC
Full article 7 comments
The draft was supported with the signature of some nineteen members of the Senate while in the Lower House a similar initiative was presented The draft was supported with the signature of some nineteen members of the Senate while in the Lower House a similar initiative was presented
Sergio Massa and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner were responsible for the approval of resolution 0356/2019  Sergio Massa and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner were responsible for the approval of resolution 0356/2019

In a surprising decision and probably for the first time in Argentina history, the two chambers of Congress agreed to freeze their salaries for the next 180 days, that is until the end of June.

The resolution was signed by the head of the Lower House, Sergio Massa and in the Senate by Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, vice-president and whip of the Upper House. The resolution is extensive to the “political staff” in the two houses but not the permanent personnel of Congress.

Massa in sponsoring the resolution argues that the decision is “essential for the austerity path of the public function, guided by solidarity ethics and promoting policies according to the reality”.

The resolution follows on the controversy generated by the Economic Emergency bill vote, which has meant a strong belt tightening for pensioners and child allowances, and was presented by members of the opposition.

In effect on Thursday Senators from the ruling grouping “Together for Change” presented a resolution freezing salaries and allowances of Senators and requesting a review of the way future increases are calculated.

Earlier in the week the head of the opposition in the Senate, Luis Naidenoff said it was necessary to discuss the “cost of politics” and a that convincing message was needed.

The draft is supported with the signature of some nineteen members of the Senate while in the Lower House a similar initiative was presented.

The last increase dates back to September 2019 when members of congress agreed on a 10% rise in November, 10% in December and 10% in January. The January rise is automatically frozen according to resolution 0356/2019.

Currently Argentine congress members receive a monthly payment of 130.000 Pesos (equivalent now to some US$ 2.000), but they enjoy additional perks such as representation expenses, and for those living outside Buenos Aires air tickets and other transport allowances.

Abuse with the tickets led to another resolution barring the exchange of them for money, but which never was implemented. Apparently Cristina Fernandez is planning to make it come into effect in January.

Categories: Economy, Politics, Argentina.

Top Comments

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  • DemonTree

    I assume Canada is like the UK, in that you get a basic pension from the government, and most people also pay into an employer or private pension? Thus not putting all your eggs in one basket. But I think that's not true in Argentina? Workers who earned more paid in more with the promise of higher returns when they retired. And most people quite reasonably don't trust the government - Macri cut pensions, now Fernandez is effectively cutting at least some of them. CFK could have allowed people to choose whether to keep their private pension or move to a state administered one, but she wanted the money...

    Dec 31st, 2019 - 05:12 pm +1
  • Little J

    These latest decisions taken by Congress sound absolutely fantastic on paper and of course suggests that Congress will abide by the laws which they have enacted. However this same law was instituted in the times of Menem as President and Domingo Cavallo as Minister of Economy. Not only history but those personalities mentioned above have gone on record that in fact all those who had agreed to follow the letter of the law, were in fact given “payments under the counter” which were never accounted for or say “do as I decree but not as I do”. Therefore it should come as no surprise that the above “hand outs” will also be used in this case. After all the politicians are there to make $$$ and not to have their income “frozen” in the like manner of the pensioners who have no resources to have their legitimate claims settled according to the law, other than to accept that their incomes will be genuinely frozen for 180 days...................and remain at the will and whim of President Alberto Fernandez when, who and how much will they have their pensions increased during this period.

    Dec 28th, 2019 - 04:40 pm 0
  • DemonTree

    How much will those getting more than 14,000 Pesos see their pensions increase by? And are these the same private pensions that were earlier nationalised by CFK, putting returns at the mercy of the government?

    Dec 30th, 2019 - 09:36 am 0
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