Argentina: ITUC backs union action to defend democracy against Milei’s shock therapy

photo: Luis ROBAYO AFP

The ITUC backs its affiliates in Argentina in their call for a general strike, 24 January, in opposition to the far-right measures being introduced by the Javier Milei government.

Three major union federations, the CGT, the CTA-T, and the CTA-A, have united to stand against the serious threat to fundamental workers’ rights and civil liberties posed by Milei’s move to resurrect out-dated and debunked neo-liberal policies.

ITUC General Secretary Luc Triangle said: “The worst fears of our affiliates about the Milei regime are coming true, and we stand in solidarity with them as they take action for democracy on 24 January.

“Democracy is not only about voting; it is about protecting values, freedoms and rights – all of these are central to the trade union movement, and all of these are under threat in Argentina.

“The actions of the Milei government aim to recreate the darkest days of dictatorship, and they require a strong, united response from the global union movement. We stand in full solidarity with the working people of Argentina in their defence of justice and democracy."

Since his election as president on 19 November, Milei’s administration has announced extreme austerity measures – referred to by him as “shock therapy”. This has seen the introduction of three significant, repressive actions that will impact workers and society at large:

  • The "Bullrich protocol" aims to criminalise street protests by trade unions or any other civil society groups attempting to defend their rights.
  • A decree to dismantle, deregulate and privatise public services, including education, healthcare, and cultural institutions, under the facade of constitutional emergency powers.
  • The so-called "Omnibus Law" that declares an emergency in numerous sectors to consolidate authority in the hands of the president, handing him control over legislative functions and effectively allowing him to rule without sufficient democratic oversight.

These measures have sparked widespread protests in Argentina with citizens participating in nightly cacerolazos (pot-banging protests) and been met by fierce criticism from trade unions and human rights organisations who have decried the government’s attempt to abolish labour rights, and the rights to housing, health, land and environmental protection.