Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Aug. 1, 1996 issue of Workers World newspaper
The government of President Carlos Menem is facing a billion-dollar gap between its $2.51-billion budget deficit and the $1.48-billion deficit it had promised to the International Monetary Fund.
Its response? Make the workers tighten their belts.
Minister of the Economy Domingo Cavallo announced July 12 that the government would end family benefits and tax breaks on lunch and supermarket vouchers, and cut pensioners' health plans. That means an effective wage cut for over 2 million workers. This has set off a storm of protest from the usually pro-government General Workers Federation (CGT), the biggest union group in the country.
On July 16, the CGT called for a general strike on Aug. 8. "We take this decision for industrial action because the government has failed to make good on its political commitments," CGT Secretary General Gerardo Martinez said.
Cavallo plans to meet with an IMF mission in late July to renegotiate the deficit target. But labor leader Martinez called the general strike call "irreversible."
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