June 26 (UPI) — A general strike in Argentina brought transportation, schools and other services to a halt Monday as major workers’ unions protested a $50 billion International Monetary Fund loan.
Trains, buses and the underground rail system stopped, and there was no air or maritime transportation nationwide, affecting at least 15 million in the capital of Buenos Aires alone.
President Mauricio Macri said he made the decision to take the IMF loan in order to avoid an economic crisis.
In addition to rejecting the IMF agreement, the General Confederation of Workers protested Macri’s general economic policies and called for a 30 percent pay increase. It was the third general strike against the president.
The General Confederation of Workers had warned the government it would hold a general strike if Macri didn’t veto a law to roll back water, electricity and gas tariffs to November prices.
“The strike does not contribute to anything,” Macri said. “Our economy will start growing again, but for that we need to sit round the table and decide what each one of us has to do,” he added.
Union representatives said they’d be willing to negotiate with the government.
“There is a new opportunity and I hope the government has understood what today’s strike means,” said Carlos Acuña, a leader of the General Confederation of Workers.