In Argentina, justice suspends the “mega-decree” on labor law carried by President Javier Milei

First political setbacks for Javier Milei: the Argentine justice system rejected the reforms on labor law, carried out by the newly elected president.


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A demonstration in Argentina against the labor law reform led by President Javier Milei, December 28, 2023. (LUIS ROBAYO / AFP)

He had promised to make cuts in public finances, to be radical in getting Argentina out of inflation, but Javier Milei finds himself confronted with his first obstacles, a little less than a month after his election. Her “mega-decree” on labor law has just been partially overturned by the courts.

Indeed, the newly inaugurated president had announced a profound revision of labor law: limitation of the right to strike, increase in trial periods or even the disappearance of benefits in the event of dismissal, proposals which aroused the anger of the streets. Javier Milei had justified this decree by the need “to begin the path towards rebuilding the country, returning freedom and autonomy to individuals and beginning to disarm the enormous amount of regulations that have held back, hindered and prevented economic growth.”

Argentinians call for general strike

The CGT, the main Argentine union with its seven million members, immediately contacted the National Chamber of Labor: this legal labor law body temporarily suspended the reform while waiting for it to be examined by Parliament, where the Milei’s party is only the third force. The decree is already the subject of lively debates between jurists on its constitutional character or not, and has at the same time been the subject of around ten legal appeals.

Among their arguments, the judges note “that what constitutes so-called reasons of urgency to avoid the due intervention of the legislative power on the merits of the legislation does not appear”especially since certain standards “have a repressive or punitive nature”. They also emphasize that“it is not explained how the proposed reforms, if applied immediately, outside the normal legislative process, could remedy the situation” and boost formal employment quickly, “a fortiori given that the decree itself underlines that this employment has stagnated for 12 years”.

But the Argentine government does not intend to stop there. He has already announced that he will appeal. Argentines, for their part, are called to take to the streets and a general strike on January 24, barely a month and a half after the election of the new president. Never seen before in 40 years of Argentine democracy.

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