Economy Argentine bankers call two-day strike on low wages

Argentine bankers call two-day strike on low wages


La Bancaria Secretary General Sergio Palazzo(r)
La Bancaria Secretary General Sergio Palazzo(r)

(AA) – Argentina’s bank workers will strike for two days next week to demand higher wages, as high inflation stirs labor tension, a union leader said Tuesday.

La Bancaria, a leading bank workers union, called the strike for Tuesday and Wednesday after salary negotiations collapsed.

“There will be protests in banks across the country”, La Bancaria Secretary General Sergio Palazzo told reporters during an impromptu press conference after the latest meeting with employers and government officials faltered.

Bank workers want a 33 percent wage increase this year to keep ahead of inflation, which was 30 percent annual in March, according to private estimates compiled by opposition lawmakers.

The government, however, has said it wants to limit increases for all sectors to 25 percent this year, warning that anything more could lead to faster inflation.

Inflation has come down from 40 percent in 2014, in part because a contracting economy is cooling consumer demand.

This is the second strike by bankers this year, following a 24-hour walkout earlier this month.

In a statement, La Bancaria said wage hikes should have been granted at the start of the year, adding that banks are dragging their feet even though their profits rose 56 percent in 2014 on the year.

The union added that the government’s cuts in income taxes announced earlier this month are “too little” to compensate for the decline in spending power.

Bankers are the latest to announce a strike, with metal workers set to walk off the job for 36-hours Thursday and Friday.

On June 9, a faction of the General Labor Confederation, the biggest union umbrella group in the country, will join transport workers in a national strike.

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