Argentina: Trade unions stand together against austerity in national strike

published 13 May 2024 updated 23 May 2024

In a powerful show of solidarity and collective strength, Argentina witnessed a massive national strike on May 9th. Called by the Confederación General del Trabajo (General Confederation of Labor – CGT) and supported by the two Argentinian Workers' Confederations (CTA), the strike reflected workers’ resistance to the austerity measures imposed by the current government.

The strike had the support of Education International member organisations in Argentina, the Confederación de Trabajadores de la Educación de la República Argentina (Confederation of Education Workers in the Republic of Argentina – CTERA), the Federación Nacional de Docentes Universitarios (National Federation of University Teachers – CONADU), and the Confederación de Educadores Argentinos (Confederation of Argentinian Educators – CEA).

With an estimated support of between 80 and 90 per cent, the strike paralysed activities in many cities. The act of protest not only demonstrated the Argentinian labour movement’s ability to organise and mobilise, it also sent a clear message to the government of Javier Milei: the economic austerity affecting the most vulnerable sectors will not be tolerated.

Educators’ demands

CTERA appreciated the support of Education International and trade unions around the world and put forward the education sector’s main demands in the context of the national strike:

  • A call for National Teaching Parity.
  • Payment of the National Teaching Incentive Fund (FONID, Fondo Nacional de Incentivo Docente).
  • Funding for education.
  • Urgent pension increases for retired people.
  • The defense of labour rights.
  • The defense of public education.
  • No austerity or public service price increases.
  • An end to the Ley Base (Reform Law) and the Decree of Necessity and Urgency.

David Edwards, General Secretary of Education International, expressed his support and solidarity with the education unions, who fight tirelessly to protect the quality of education, teachers’ rights, and access to free, inclusive public education in Argentina.

“Education International reaffirms its commitment to the defense of democracy, labour rights and living wages in Argentina and around the world and undertakes to continue working in solidarity with the trade union movement in its fight for a fairer, more equitable future for everyone.”

David Edwards, General Secretary of Education International

Resistance continues

With a unified vision, the Argentine union leadership has warned that if the government does not reevaluate its austerity policy, the resistance will continue. The show of union strength is in response to the impact these policies are having on the daily lives of millions of workers, from retired people to public employees.

The strike is a reminder that education and decent jobs are fundamental pillars for the development of any nation. The unity shown by Argentine unions is an inspiring example for the labour movement everywhere, showing that cohesion and collective action are powerful tools in the fight for social and economic justice.