Buenos Aires Times

Capital shuts down as strike coincides with International Workers' Day

Trade union groups paralysed buses, trains and the Subte underground system, on the second of two days of industrial action.

Wednesday 1 May, 2019
Kids eat the stew prepared on the soup kitchen during the May Day meeting in Buenos Aires on May 1, 2019. Truckers Union commemorate May Day with a hundred of
Kids eat the stew prepared on the soup kitchen during the May Day meeting in Buenos Aires on May 1, 2019. Truckers Union commemorate May Day with a hundred of "Ollas populares" (soup kitchen) at the "Canto al trabajo" monument. Foto:JUAN MABROMATA / AFP

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Buenos Aires shut down Wednesday as a transport strike coincided with the traditional International Workers' Day/May 1 holiday, bringing the capital to a standstill.

Trade union groups paralysed buses, trains and the Subte underground system, according to the Argentine Confederation of Transport Workers (CATT) and municipal authorities.

The industrial action was the second of a two-day shutdown, following on from another strike and street mobilisation on Tuesday by unions that oppose the economic policies of Mauricio Macri and his administration, with a general election just six months away in which the  president will seek re-election.

"The protest is part of a generalised pattern of unrest, due to the runaway increases in the [cost of the] food basket, the rate of payments [of public services and utilities] and poverty," said union leader Juan Carlos Schmid, head of the CATT, in statements to the opposition-friendly radio station Destape Radio.

Veteran truck-drivers union leader Hugo Moyano, however, said that the transport strike "is not serious, it is not understood what it wants to raise," criticising rival union leaders for calling a shutdown on what is a traditional holiday in Argentina.

"It's May 1, maybe 5 or 10 percent of people work," said a baffled Moyano.

Buenos Aires and other cities across the country were deserted, with the day taking on the distinct feel of a Sunday.

- TIMES/AFP

 

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