President Alberto Fernández on Thursday asked workers not to make “excessive [wage] demands,” in the wake of his agreement with business leaders on a joint strategy to boost industry and create employment.
To remedy Argentina’s worst economic crisis since the 2001-2002 meltdown, Fernández put together an emergency fiscal and economic package and last week signed an agreement with business leaders, trade unions and social activists to review wages and consumer prices.
“I want to ask those who work to take the situation into account and not make undue demands because that impacts economic results,” said the president in an interview with Radio 10.
“We are trying to guarantee a basic minimum for wage increases” underlined Fernández, assuring that the figure would be disclosed over the next week.
Carlos Acuña, a secretary-general of the CGT labour umbrella, said that each sector should negotiate its increase apart since “not everybody is in the same economic conditions,” according to the online newspaper El Destape.
Fernández has also pressured businesses not to increase prices, thus constructing inflation solely on the basis of negative economic expectations.
"In Argentina demand is falling steeply and the prices go up. Something is wrong there,” he underlined.
Food producers and retailers agreed to absorb a large part of the IVA valued-added tax of 21 percent returning to basic shopping-basket items.
Milk prices will not change while other foods will have "an average increase of 7-10 percent," said Fernández.
Petrol prices have been frozen while the government looks to burdening export sectors like agriculture, mining and energy with more taxation.
Argentina has been in recession since the second quarter of 2018 with 2019 inflation of 48.3 percent through to November and 38 percent currency depreciation during that period, not to mention a national debt totalling some US$335 billion.
"This is the first time that businessmen, workers and the State have got together to tell creditors: ´We believe that the formula for paying [them] is not continued austerity but Argentina growing first to then meet its obligations,'" assured Fernández.