On August 22, social movements, trade unions as well as left-wing political parties carried out several marches and ‘people’s pots” (community canteens) across Argentina, demanding measures that guarantee access to basic necessities in the face of inflation, which worsened after the further devaluation of the Argentine Peso after the primary elections in the country.
In Buenos Aires, social movements, such as the Confederación de Trabajadores de la Economía Popular (CTEP), the Corriente Clasista y Combativa (CCC), Somos Barrios de Pie and the Frente Popular Darío Santillán, organized a people’s pot at the national monument, the Obelisco de Buenos Aires, and served cooked food to thousands of needy and homeless people. From the Obelisk, thousands marched to the Ministry of Social Development to denounce the policies of hunger and poverty promoted by the right-wing government of President Mauricio Macri.
The mobilization continued in the afternoon. Workers from the trade union front “Combative Unionism” and left-wing political leaders marched from the Obelisk to the Ministry of Labor and then to Plaza de Mayo to demand an urgent increase in the Minimum, Vital and Mobile Salary (SMVM). The SMVM is the minimum remuneration that workers should receive, as per the Labor Contract Law, to ensure for themselves and their family a decent housing, adequate food, health, education, clothing, transportation, recreation, vacations and social welfare.
The front also requested the national trade unions to call for a 36-hour strike in order to ensure salary increases. The protesters met with violent police repression near Plaza de Mayo. The police officials used force and tear gas to disperse the crowd.
People’s assemblies were also held throughout the country to define an action plan for the common struggle and to demand a decent increase in salaries and pensions. Dozens of social movements and organizations are planning to hold a national struggle day to demand concrete measures for the popular sectors on August 28.
An increase of the Supplementary Social Salary* as per the increase in the SMVM, a 40% increase in the budget for lunch and snacks in schools, a bonus of 2,000 pesos (USD 37) for the popular economy workers as announced for the formal sector workers, cessation of suspensions of labor programs, implementation of the Food Emergency Act, extension of social emergency, as well as a decent increase in the minimum retirement and pension amounts are some of their demands. They believe that these will help alleviate the situation of the most vulnerable sectors in the existing extreme social and economic crisis.
*The Supplementary Social Salary is a benefit to the monthly income that workers who generate their own work to survive receive. It equals 50% of the SMVM.