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Argentine unions begin 12 hour strike in response to new austerity measures

Tens of thousands of Argentines took to the streets of Buenos Aires on Wednesday to protest economic and labor reforms proposed by President Javier Milei.

The 12-hour strike coordinated by Argentina's largest union, the General Confederation of Labour (CGT), is the most significant opposition to Milei's proposed austerity measures since he took office in December 2023. 

Milei has pledged to free Argentina from decades of "decadence and decline" with his libertarian ideals. Argentina's economy is currently struggling with 211 percent inflation. 

The two proposed reforms under scrutiny include the "omnibus" bill currently going through Congress, and a "mega-decree" deregulating the economy. 

Speaking on local radio station Radio Con Vos, union member and opposition deputy, Hugo Yasky, stated "Milei wants a country where poverty and informal work reaches 90 percent."

Yasky continues, "Now there is no job creation. What there is now is widespread misery, and people’s desperation, there are no measures to mitigate the damage they are causing."

Milei's proposed reforms include major spending cuts, expansion of presidential powers, sweeping privatizations, and a scaling back of workers' rights and the right to protest. 

Earlier this month, Argentina and the IMF finalized an agreement to release $4.7 billion as a part of a debt restructuring plan.

Read more on Al Jazeera and the Guardian

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