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Buenos Aires workers' rally signals trouble ahead for new president

Wednesday, December 23, 2015 - 01:29

Unions rally in downtown Buenos Aires to demand a Christmas bonus to cope with rampant inflation and a devaluation of the Argentine peso. Rough Cut-Subtitled (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT - SUBTITLED (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Hundreds of protesters marched towards Buenos Aires' Plaza de Mayo square on Tuesday (December 22) to demand a Christmas bonus ahead of the festive season, as the country's working class struggles against a devaluation of the Argentine peso and rampant inflation. The protest was led by political parties aligned to the country's left and comes just one day after conservative new President Mauricio Macri announced an expansion of a welfare bonuses for the country's poorest during the holiday season. Local media reported that protesters were leftist supporters of former president Cristina Fernandez. But the head of the Underground Workers' Union, Claudio Della Carbonara, told media that his movement is protesting the policies of both Fernandez and Macri. "We are here in this plaza today to continue the fight we had against the measures of the previous government (of former President Cristina Fernandez), and now, against this one (government of President Mauricio Macri)… To demand a bonus for all workers; employed, unemployed and retired, to help against the devaluation they've made to our salaries," he said. Earlier this week Macri announced he will call on workers and the business sector to come together with the government for a plan to bolster the country's economy. However, many protesters have rejected the new president's talk of a cross-party consensus of union officials, political rivals and business leaders for the benefit of the country. "No to the adjustment. No to the social pacts. No to the union bureaucracy that we've had to deal with and we deal with all the time. But yes to the voice of all workers, because that is what matters. Because we represent the workers and not the big monopolies and much less union bureaucracy," said Secretary-General of the Cooking Oil Union, Ezequiel Roldan. Macri won 51.40 percent of votes over his leftist rival Daniel Scioli who drew 48.60 percent in the November 22 runoff elections, signalling deep divisions amongst Argentine voters. Argentina's new president is the third non-Peronist leader since the end of military rule in 1983. The other two failed to finish their terms, a reminder of the difficulties that Peronist labour unions, state governors and opponents in Congress could cause Macri if he is unable to get the economy growing quickly.

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Buenos Aires workers' rally signals trouble ahead for new president

Wednesday, December 23, 2015 - 01:29