Multi-Sector Complications Projected Tomorrow Due to Strike

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Tomorrow’s anti-government strike organised by Hugo Moyano’s dissident CGT union and the Argentine Workers Union (CTA), led by Pablo Micheli, appear poised to interrupt multiple sectors, from transportation to commerce to health. The massive union action will demonstrate support for raising the income tax threshold and for a universal family allowance, echoing the one-day strike held last June for the same causes.

The Sarmiento line will not run tomorrow, and other lines may be delayed due to blocks on the track. Buses may be delayed due to roadblocks; the 60 line route will not be offered at all as its workers will participate. B Line Subte workers of the Union Association of Subte and Premetro Workers (AGTSyP) will decide later today whether they will join the union action.

Because both depend on unionised truck drivers to transport currency and goods, banks will close and supermarkets may struggle to acquire merchandise. Gas stations will not be selling fuel.

Interruptions in garbage collection are also expected. The Buenos Aires government recommends residents not take out their trash today nor tomorrow.

Many Buenos Aires public hospitals will be closed, as well as 700 municipal hospitals in the rest of the country. Thousands of children in the Province of Buenos Aires will go without classes and postal services will be halted. Courts may decide not to render services, especially in Buenos Aires. Many will decide today.

The Agrarian Federation plans to block highways across the country, halting the transport of grains.

Many food services establishments will close.

Both LAN and Aerolíneas Argentinas anticipate interruptions to tomorrow’s flights. Although the union action may interrupt flights to or from any Argentine city, flights to and from Tucumán will be especially affected, according to CGT, a leader union among those taking action tomorrow.

Both airlines advise passengers planning to travel tomorrow to check their flight statuses via official company portals. They also noted that schedule changes can be arranged without charge. Aerolíneas Argentinas’ passengers can do so by calling 0810-222-86527, visiting Aerolíneas Argentinas’ offices, or by contacting the travel agency at which the itinerary was purchased.

Aeronautic technicians from the Association of Aeronautic Technician Personal of the Republic of Argentina (APTA) and LAN cabin crew belonging to the Association of Passengers’ Cabin Crew of Aero-commercial Companies (ATCPEA) and the Airline Pilots Association (APLA) plan to continue the union action for 24 hours.

A press release issued today by Aerolíneas Argentinas, a government-owned company, revealed deep disagreement at the corporate level with the unions’ decision to strike, calling it “surprising and incomprehensible”. They apologised to passengers for having to “suffer the consequences of an irresponsible group of workers.” According to the document, the company finalised salary hikes of 28% for APLA, APTA, and UPSA union members only 20 days ago. They added that the agreements were made despite a “crisis” situation in the industry in which “severe adjustments” and even company failure have been considered. Instead, it attributed continued salary increases and “improvements” in working conditions directly to President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

Sol, Andes, and Austral airlines also anticipate delays.

The airlines’ announcements come shortly after news that LAN will reduce flights to southern Argentina starting 1st December. The airline plans to cut its eight weekly Comodoro Rivadavia-destined flights down to five, all of them nocturnal. Weekly Ushuaisa-bound flights will shrink from 21 to 14.

According to La Nación, the changes follow the delayed addition of an Airbus 320, the 11th in LAN’s Argentine fleet. The paperwork for the US$40m airplane has been pending since September.

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