Monday, July 15, 2024

ARGENTINA | 01-07-2024 15:33

Justice Ministry says 85% of workers at ex-Women's Ministry now 'dismissed'

Justice Minister Mariano Cúneo Libarona announces that 85% of workers at the former Women, Gender & Diversity Ministry have been dismissed, with remainder to be transferred to Family Protection Directorate.

President Javier Milei’s government has announced an 85-percent cutback of staff of the former Women, Gender & Diversity Ministry following the termination of hundreds of contracts.

Justice Minister Mariano Cúneo Libarona confirmed just 15 percent of staff at former portfolio remain employed by the government. The news sparked an immediate reaction from workers who denounced the emptying of public bodies dedicated to combatting gender-based violence.

The Ministry, created in 2019 by former president Alberto Fernández's government, was downgraded to a secretariat by Milei upon taking office in December last year.

“We have dismissed 85 percent of the employees of the former Women's Ministry. The remainder will now perform duties within the Family Protection Directorate, and will assist all Argentines going through a violence and risk situation,” Cúneo Libaron said via his X social media account. 

The ATE state workers’ association issued a press release public questioning the libertarian administration’s decision and declaring that the government would not be able to meet demands for assistance.

“We denounce the dissolution of the body since over 80 percent of workers were notified of the failure to renew their contracts,” they said.

According to the former employees at the portfolio, “Milei’s government will be the first one since the return to democracy not to have a specific body to work on gender-related issues and diversity, thus breaking national and international commitments in the field, which causes a great setback in human rights."

“In the meantime, the authorities of Justice Ministrybrag in the media announcing there will be no more lay-offs and contradict themselves by stating that they will comply with applicable regulations, which is impossible since the public policies cannot be sustained without the specialist workers they are dismissing,” read the release.

It further specified: “They are even unaware of regulations, announcing they will work on ‘attending to people in violence and risk situations,’ but ignoring the specificities of Law 26.485 on gender-based violence and intending to equate the obligations assumed by the State in the face of any crime with those assumed both in our Constitution and international agreements on gender," it concluded.

The ATE statement said that the 144 telephone helpline, created to comply with Law 26.485 on Comprehensive Protection to Prevent, Sanction and Eradicate Violence against Women, had been emptied out. 

“There are only two workers left on call to take the highest number of calls from throughout the territory, making compliance with this Law impossible," said the state workers.

They also said specialist interdisciplinary teams focused on areas like femicide, transversticide, transfemicide and crimes against sexual integrity would also be affected.

“There are currently over 7,000 victims of gender-based violence nationwide which were already recorded as Extremely High Risk/Emergency, and are awaiting the assistance guaranteed by the Acompañar Programme. The interdisciplinary teams of this programme, which had already experienced layoffs in December and March, are further reduced now, by 50 percent," said the ATE statement.

Earlier on Monday, the Milei government extended until September this year a decree prohibiting hiring by state bodies and authorising reorganisation of different areas.

Decree 551/2024, published today on the Official Gazette, extended Decree 426 which had been previously published on July 22, 2022.

Article 1 of that statute provides that: “Jurisdictions and Entities in the Public Sector and Control Systems in the Public Sector may not appoint or hire any kind of staff."

The prohibition covers temporary staff, open-ended contracts, fixed-term contracts, part-time work, temporary labour and professional services.

“Temporary appointments in simple permanent staff positions” are also prohibited.



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