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Argentina: Union strikes cripple Buenos Aires, other cities

Argentina unions General Workers Confederation and Argentinian Workers Central are demanding lower taxes and more benefits.

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A woman walks next to banners supporting and against a unions' strike that blocks the approaches to the capital, on November 20, 2012 in Buenos Aires. A general strike was called Tuesday by the working unions opposing the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to protest against the taxes on wages. (Juan Mabromata/AFP/Getty Images)

Two Argentina unions were on strike across the country Tuesday, demanding lower taxes on their wages and more benefits. 

General Workers Confederation (CGT) and Argentinean Workers Central (CTA) — which combined have around 500,000 members — are holding a 24-hour strike that has brought Buenos Aires and other Argentine cities to a near-halt. 

“If there’s a national strike, it should be understood as what it is: a strike," CTA’s umbrella union leader Pablo Micheli told reporters, the Buenos Aires Herald reported. "So please understand that we can’t just stay at home saying how bad things are going, we have to do something, we have to claim for our rights." 

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The strikers, who include airport workers, truck drivers, and train conductors, caused domestic flights across the country to be canceled, stopped bus and train lines, and blocked roads along many major auto routes, Agence France Presse reported.

The country's banks were also closed, garbage left on the streets, and many public hospitals were only attending to emergencies, according to the Wall Street Journal

The strikes mark a growing discontent with President Cristina Fernandez, who won reelection last year in a landslide, the Los Angeles Times reported. However, an August survey shows that only 35.4 percent of respondents view their leader in a positive light. 

The strikes follow demonstrations held Nov. 8 to protest the country's rising crime rates, currency restrictions, and public officials' corruption, according to the LA Times. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/argentina/121120/argentina-union-strikes-cripple-buenos-aires