Social organisations and picketers staged a mock funeral march for Argentina's minimum wage on Friday, carrying with a cardboard coffin and wreaths of paper flowers through the streets as a way of denouncing the loss of purchasing power due to runaway inflation.
"Wages are dead," read a huge banner unfurled by protesters in the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, where the main event took place, in front of the Casa Rosada. The "coffin" was deposited there after a few blocks of the centre, in a "funeral march" accompanied by more than 500 people.
Activists also paid for a death notice to appear in several local newspapers.
Known as the "minimum, vital and mobile salary" ("salario mínimo, vital y móvil"), the payment at its current rate is 45,540 pesos (US$320 at the official exchange rate) – far below the basic basket for a family of four (111,298 pesos or US$783) as defined by government data and even lower than the food basket of 49,466 pesos (US$348).
"In Argentina there are a lot of workers [living] below the poverty line. That is why we are carrying out this protest action. The minimum living and mobile wage is dead, it has been pulverised by economic policy," Marianela Navarro, one of the organisers of the demonstration, told the AFP news agency.
Argentina has one of the highest inflation rates in the world, banking a cumulative inflation rate of 46.2 percent from January to July and facing projections of 90 percent by the end of this year. Poverty reached 37 percent of the population in 2021.
Social movements are demanding more state aid and have called for the approval of a universal basic income, at a time when the government of President Alberto Fernández must reduce the fiscal deficit to meet the targets in Argentina's US$44.5-billion debt restructuring programme with the International Monetary Fund.