Argentinian protesters demand a universal living wage

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Buenos Aires (AFP) – Thousands of people demonstrated Thursday in Buenos Aires to demand a “universal wage” in an Argentina in crisis.

Protesters gathered outside the presidential palace, where centre-left President Alberto Fernandez was meeting his Economy Minister Silvina Batakis, who opposes such an idea, amid rumors abound that a cabinet reshuffle is underway .

“Poverty has taken over the country,” Monica Sulle, a leader of the Socialist Workers’ Movement (MST), told AFP.

Argentina is in the grip of an economic crisis marked by galloping inflation and a rapid devaluation of the currency.

Radical left groups close to the ruling Frente de Todos (All People’s Front) coalition have been calling for a universal living wage for weeks.

They are angry with the government for the deteriorating social conditions faced by ordinary Argentines.

Protesters want a minimum living wage of 67,000 pesos (about $490 at the official exchange rate), equivalent to the cost of two basic food baskets, for the lowest earners in the country.

Some 37% of Argentina’s 45 million people live in poverty, while inflation in the first half of the year exceeded 36%.

“This unstoppable inflation is taking place at the family dinner table at all levels of society, but in the poorest sectors it is a disaster,” Vilma Ripoli, leader of the Left Front of the United Nations, told AFP. workers (FIT).

Argentina, which earlier this year renegotiated repayments of a $44 billion loan with the International Monetary Fund, has pledged to reduce its public deficit from 3% in 2021 to 0.9% by 2024.

Batakis has just returned to the country from Washington, where she met IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.

The local press is speculating that Batakis, in office for less than a month since the resignation of Martin Guzman, could be one of the heads to roll in a cabinet reshuffle.

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