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Argentina leader faces first strike
President, Eduardo Duhalde, faces the first industrial action against his
government since he took office in January.
The protest -
scheduled to begin at midday Wednesday and last 12 hours - has been called
by one of the main trade union organizations, the faction of the Argentine
Labour Confederation known as the dissident CGT.
Hugo Moyano said that workers will demand a pay rise and will protest
against the austerity measures demanded by the International Monetary Fund
before it releases aid to Argentina.
tens of thousands of people took to the streets across Argentina,
demanding food, jobs and a change in the government's economic policies.
unions have called a day of strikes next week.
followers are due to march through the centre of Buenos Aires, before
meeting to listen to four speakers in the capital's main square, outside
the presidential palace.
correspondents say the strike may have a limited impact, as public
transport will continue to function as normal.
was initially scheduled for last week but, in a heavily criticized move,
the CGT cancelled it because of bad weather.
demanding a 20% rise in salaries to compensate for inflation since
They are also
demanding that cuts in pensions be reversed and that the unemployed be
Mr. Duhalde - a Peronist - became Argentina's fifth president in a month,
after a wave of rioting and protests swept the country forcing President
Fernando de la Rua to step down.
to a Gallup poll conducted for one of Argentina's main newspapers, La
Nacion, 58% of people believe the country needs a new government to
overcome the crisis. Of those consulted, 70% said the cause of the
recession was political.
years of deepening recession, Argentina's unemployment rate has soared to
more than 20% and the value of the peso has been sliding against the
Up to half
the population is said to live in poverty.
banking system is also in crisis.
hoping to regain access to much-needed loans suspended by the IMF in
December 2001 after it failed to meet budget-cutting targets.
The IMF has
insisted Argentina's provinces slash their deficits by about 3bn pesos
($585m) from 2001 levels before it releases $22bn in financial aid.
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