Argentina: Jobless Protests Block Highways, but Fail to Block New Labor Law

NotiSur - South American Political and Economic Affairs, March 12, 2004 | Go to article overview

Argentina: Jobless Protests Block Highways, but Fail to Block New Labor Law


Picketing jobless protestors, or "piqueteros," blockaded Argentine roads in February, even as the Chamber of Deputies passed a labor-reform law that piqueteros found inadequate. The protests by the unemployed have drawn less support than they enjoyed during the economic collapse of 2001-2002 but constitute the first major social movement President Nestor Kirchner has had to face.

Two hundred to three hundred protestors from the Movimiento Independiente de Jubilados y Desocupados occupied the front steps of the Labor Ministry for several days and conducted a hunger strike to call for the reinstatement of 252,000 "social plan" stipends the government had recently removed, with the understanding that the beneficiaries of the assistance programs had found work or no longer met the requirements to continue receiving assistance. A social plan equals 150 pesos monthly, or US$51, for each unemployed person who demonstrated their condition as such.

The government made it clear that its policy would be to give no more assistance but to replace the stipends with genuine jobs. This policy led piqueteros to block dozens of roads to Buenos Aires and other cities, frequently frustrating commuters on their way to their own jobs.

While polls show that unemployment is a top concern among Argentine adults, the links between the jobless and the middle class are nowhere near as powerful as they were during the period of opposition to President Fernando de la Rua (1999-2001). Economic vigor has returned to Argentina, which experienced an 8.4% growth rate last year, bringing unemployment figures down a few percentage points and somewhat mollifying the middle-class "pot-bangers" who brought down de la Rua.

Although road-blockade protests disrupted daily life and resulted in a few incidents of reported violence, as shown in a video of one piquetero attacking a taxi diver, the government was able to negotiate a truce with the piqueteros in the first days of March.

Labor law of "bribes" partially reformed

A labor law that passed four years ago with the suspected help of massive bribes was reformed at the beginning of March, although some socialist and labor leaders thought the reforms of the new law were inadequate. The Bloque Piquetero Nacional, led by the leftist Partido Obrero, tried unsuccessfully to convince the Labor Ministry to eliminate the flexibilization aspects of the previous reform law, arguing that they did not foment job creation but instead worsened the conditions of the labor market.

Nonetheless, the Chamber of Deputies passed it with a 215-23 vote while the Senate approved it 65-1. The law, originally passed in 2000, allowed employers to keep their employees on a six-month probationary period and increased "labor flexibility" with the argument that fewer employment protections would generate more jobs.

The new law passed this month reduced the probationary period to three months and increased severance pay, but it reduced the social security contributions required from employers in companies with less than 80 employees.

The government said the initiative had been designed in consultation with interested sectors of the economy, and central labor councils expressed their agreement with the law, but chambers of commerce demonstrated against it, saying it would make hiring new employees "more expensive."

The ex-secretary of the Senate, Mario Pontaquarto, revealed to Justice Department officials that a total of US$5 million in bribes were paid to at least a half-dozen senators who approved the labor flexibility law in 2000. He and three others, ex-senators Jose Genoud and Emilio Cantarero and former secretary of intelligence Fernando de Santibanes, are being prosecuted for the crime. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Argentina: Jobless Protests Block Highways, but Fail to Block New Labor Law
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.