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Argentina state workers protest against low pay

 
 
 
 
 
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Argentinean state workers have gathered in the capital, Buenos Aires, in protest against low pay, Press TV reports.

The demonstrators have also been demanding an end to labor taxes and an emergency year-end bonus.

“Federal workers from all Argentinean provinces, we are the pride of this country as we defended it in the darkest time … in the 90s. We are still standing and we will continue our fight regardless of the government’s intention to bring us down to our knees,” the Association of State Workers’ Julio Fuentes said.

The government has so far rejected all the demands made by the workers and insists Argentinians are receiving the highest wages in all Latin American countries.

Last month, unionists affiliated with the CTA labor union requested a 4,000-peso (468-dollar) year-end bonus and an emergency payment of 9,000 pesos (1,053-dollar) for pensioners. They also asked for the Complementary Annual Salary to be exempt from income taxes.

Over the past months, workers with all state agencies and sectors have staged protests and walkouts over the country’s 2015 budget, which includes a range of austerity measures.

In October, unions representing the workers accused the administration of President Cristina Kirchner of taking neo-liberal measures very similar to those adopted by the extreme right-wing governments in the 90s.

As a result of the country’s struggling economy, the government in Argentina has been forced to tighten its budget.

Argentina is also locked in a 12-year legal fight with creditors, who refused to participate in two restructurings that followed Argentina’s 2002 default on USD 100 billion in bonds. It has since twice restructured its debt, in 2005 and in 2010.

After Buenos Aires failed to reach a deal over its debt back in August, ratings agency Fitch said Argentina was in “restrictive default.”

Argentina has an inflation rate of 42 percent.

Recent studies show that there has been a sharp rise in the number of young and skillful Argentinean people leaving their country over economic hardships.

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