Argentina: ITUC condemns IMF’s praise of Milei’s disastrous economic policies

photo: Luis ROBAYO / AFP

The ITUC strongly criticises the IMF’s endorsement of the austerity measures taken by Argentine President Javier Milei, which have led to widespread social turmoil.

Despite an inflation rate of nearly 150 per cent since Milei took office pushing many people into poverty and hunger, savage budget cuts threatening the future of schools, universities and public services, and a predicted drop of 2.8% in GDP this year, the IMF said that “progress so far has been really impressive.”

In a striking contrast to these economic challenges, Milei’s close aides, and the board of the public oil company, have recently received salary increases above the inflation rate. As an example, Senators voted by a show of hands to raise their own salaries by 170%, a decision made while half of their compatriots live in poverty.

ITUC General Secretary Luc Triangle said: “The IMF is celebrating the budget surplus in Argentina, but it’s indefensible to ignore the human cost of this economic shock therapy. Pensions have been slashed, thousands of public sector workers fired, public services are on the verge of collapse, unemployment is growing and food poverty spreading.

“These kinds of misguided, far-right economic measures deepen inequality and erode democratic foundations. It is no surprise that Milei also wants to bypass Congress and repress civil liberties – this is the anti-democratic ideology at the centre of his regime. Austerity is not the answer when people’s lives and their democratic rights are at stake.

“This situation should not be praised, but condemned and opposed. That is why the global trade movement is in solidarity with the CGT, the CTA-T and the CTA-A as they defend justice and democracy, call for a general strike on 9 May, and protest on 23 April in support of public education, research and scientific development in Argentina.

IMF reform

Luc Triangle continued: "The IMF and the other International Financial Institutions (IFIs) must reform their approach. They must support policies that strengthen, rather than undermine, democracy and social justice. As the ITUC For Democracy campaign makes clear, democracy means workers’ rights in the workplace, civil liberties in society and global institutions that prioritise human and trade union rights.”

As the IFIs hold their Spring Meetings, the ITUC and the Global Unions have released key demands for democratic reform of the international financial architecture. Thousands of people have signed this global petition demanding that the IFIs change course and support democracy in societies so that governments can deliver a New Social Contract for working people.