- Author, Writing
- Role, BBC News World
The comprehensive transformation of Argentina’s economy promoted through decrees by its new president, Javier Milei, to reverse the country’s endemic economic crisis has encountered its first two judicial obstacles.
On Wednesday the National Chamber of Labor Appeals of Argentina temporarily suspended the labor reform included in the decree of necessity and urgency (DNU) which Milei announced on December 20.
The judges of the chamber issued a precautionary measure at the request of the labor union General Confederation of Labor (CGT), a union linked to Peronism.
On Thursday, they approved a second precautionary measure, this time at the request of another union group, the Central of Argentine Workers (CTA).
Last week, the unions organized a mobilization against the DNU and demanded that the Judiciary suspend the new labor legislation imposed by a decree by the government headed by Milei, a liberal economist.
The precautionary measures annul the changes in labor matters imposed by the president just five days after their implementation on December 29.
The suspension will remain in force until a ruling is issued about the case.
The government, for its part, announced that it will appeal the decisions of the Labor Chamber and will ask that that body be considered incompetent to handle the case, according to a statement from the National Treasury Attorney’s Office.
He alleged that the chamber’s decision “contradicts all the rulings issued so far” and “disregards the criteria adopted by the other courts” in Argentina, which “sent the case to the natural and universal judge who knows all matters.”
The government believes that the appropriate body for this cause is the Federal Administrative Litigation Chamber.
The DNU and its labor reform
Milei’s labor reform appears in Title IV of the decree of necessity and urgency (DNU), which is related to work.
Some of the main measures it contemplates are the reduction of contributions and contributions for retirement, compensation for dismissal and fines for poor registration of workers.
It also includes the extension of trial periods in companies, changes in labor trials and the reduction of pregnancy permits, among others.
The DNU was the second of the three major announcements of the new Argentine government in its first three weeks.
The first was 10 emergency measures announced by the Minister of Economy, Luis Caputo, just two days after forming the government.
And, after the DNU, Milei announced what is known as the “omnibus law”with which he promised to “give a turning point in Argentine history.”
This law proposes to deregulate a wide variety of economic sectors such as labor, commercial, real estate, aeronautical, health and even football clubs.
Milei’s critics accuse him of using the economic emergency that the country is experiencing as a pretext to impose by decree laws that should be approved by Congress.
In the Legislature, the president depends on the support of other political forces to carry out his initiatives, since his La Libertad Avanza party is a minority.
Besides, The Peronist opposition front is openwhich is trying to mobilize citizens in the streets and has called for a half-day general strike and a large mobilization in front of Congress on January 24.
It could also encounter more resistance in the area of justice, since more than 10 appeals for protection against the DNU have been filed in Argentine courts.
The obstacles that the DNU will face
Analysis by Veronica Smink, BBC Mundo journalist in Buenos Aires
The decision of the Labor Chamber is just the first of several obstacles that Milei’s controversial “megadecree” will face.
From the moment the libertarian president announced it, it was known that it would generate a shower of precautionary measures to stop the reforms, which came into effect on December 29.
And, in fact, complaints have accumulated in several courts. But the beginning of the judicial holidays, due to the summer season, froze most of the claims.
Justice is not the only State Power that could stop Milei’s plans. Congress must also rule on the controversial DNU.
A bicameral commission, made up of eight deputies and eight senators, must decide whether the use of a decree of necessity and urgency to repeal and modify 366 laws is justified.
If it endorses it, it will be submitted to the plenary session of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, which must accept or reject the complete DNU (since it cannot be analyzed in parts). If only one of the chambers gives its approval, the entire DNU remains in force. The same will happen if Congress does not vote on its validity.
But for that we will have to wait until Parliament resumes its ordinary sessions in March.
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