Union kingpin Hugo Moyano on Wednesday threatened a general strike if the Mauricio Macri government failed to meet the union movement’s demands for wage increases.
“If we don’t have an answer by Tuesday, we will carry out a general strike on Thursday (June 14)”, Moyano said during a speech made to members of the powerful Teamsters Union.
“We are going to demand a fair increase in wages”, Moyano said. “You’re wrong, Mr President”, he charged.
Like a number of union leaders, Moyano want the government to authorise wage adjustments in line with the soaring rate of inflation. The Macri administration set an inflation target of 15 percent this year, though private estimates suggest the final figure will come in at around 25 percent.
The Labour Ministry confirmed on Thursday that it would meet with representatives of the CGT union confederation later in the day to address union concerns and attempt to avoid a strike.
In a sign of what was to come, truck drivers responding to Moyano blocked a number of roads into Buenos Aires City early Wednesday morning.
Once on good terms with Macri, Moyano has been flexing his muscles since the start of the year.
As corruption allegations against him have intensified, unions and some sectors of the opposition have claimed the government is persecuting Moyano in order to play a stronger hand in collective wage bargaining negotiations, which continue across a number of sectors of the economy.
Moyano's first major move was in February when the union movement led a protest march on downtown Buenos Aires.
Moyano and his son Pablo, the current head of the Teamsters Union, were accused in January of fraud and racketeering against the Independiente football club, of which Moyano senior is president.
Moyano senior is also under investigation for alleged money laundering and embezzlement of funds belonging to the Teamsters union’s health care fund. Prosecutors claim the health care funds were diverted to businesses linked to the Moyano family.
In January, President Macri took aim at Moyano saying he “shouldn’t have any reason to be nervous. Instead he should go to the Judiciary and show that everything is in order”.