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Argentina workers protest new labor risk legislation

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Workers in Argentina have staged a massive protest to voice their anger at the new labor risk legislation which they say protects only the insurance companies, Press TV reports.

The demonstrators gathered outside the National Congress in the capital city, Buenos Aires, to protest a bill submitted by President Cristina Fernandez last week which the workers say seeks to defend profits of Labor Risk Insurance Companies (ARTs).

Demonstrators, led by two trade union groups General Confederation of Labor (CGT) and Argentina’s Center of Workers (CTA), rallied outside the building while the Lower House was addressing the bill.

Fernandez, when first announced the new legislation, explained that it would provide a 20 percent raise in work-related accident compensations, speed up payments and include types of diseases not covered by the current risk labor program.

However the new legislation would also require workers to choose between the ART system and civil justice procedures to claim compensation.

Leaders of the opposition parties have announced their objection to the new bill as they believe it does not protect workers facing serious occupational hazards but only supports companies.

“Protests are proving that president was wrong when she said uninionized workers would support the move. She is defending a big business that kills 75,500 people a year. Twenty workers die every day, four because of accidents and 16 due to work related illnesses,” Victor De Gennaro a Progressive Front lawmaker told Press TV.

This week’s demonstration could be a prelude to a biggest protest and strike that CGT and CTA leaders are considering if the national government does not meet workers’ demands.


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