It appears that Argentina’s inflation has gotten so bad that even those who get paid in Euros are having trouble making ends meet. Employees at the Spanish Embassy in Buenos Aires took to the streets yesterday, striking in demanding higher wages. 170 employees, who work at both the country’s embassy and consulates in the cities of Buenos Aires, Rosario, Bahía Blanca, Mendoza and Córdoba, have taken to the streets as they continue to cope with a loss of purchasing power generated by the continuous price increases. While the strike delayed numerous diplomatic procedures, it did not affect the availability of the services they provide.
The Spanish Labor Federation (UGT) released a statement saying that protests have taken — and will continue to take place — “in the main embassy of Buenos Aires and other general consulates.”
“In total, the protest has summoned dozens of people and has accounted for 95% of Spanish diplomatic employees,” the release adds.
Diplomatic employees from Spain have been widely supported by Spanish labor groups. The unions have proposed tentative salary increases of 40 percent, which they say would compensate employees for the massive loss in purchasing power.
Trade unions often advocate for strikes in response to economic strife, which may include periods of inflation or major price instability. For Spanish diplomats in Argentina, accumulated inflation and the return to a singular exchange rate has led them to lose nearly 34 percent of their purchasing power over the last year alone.
Rising inflation has further exasperated foreign diplomats and embassy employees as the costs of living in Buenos Aires continue to rise. In the past eight years, Buenos Aires has been firmly positioned as the most expensive city in all of Latin America.
Bárbara Continanza, an employee of the Spanish embassy in Buenos Aires, commented in an interview with La Nacion that financial troubles back in Spain have also compounded the embassies’ ability to meet demands for wage increases. “[Last year], when Spain was in crisis, the embassy employees understood it and ultimately they increased the salary as there was a growth of Spain’s GDP,” she said. “[This time around], our claim remains unanswered. In my case, my salary is the exactly same as when I started to work here in December of 2006.” Continanza continued in saying that she is reminded of the inflation everywhere she goes, even at the supermarket. “Where you feel it most is in the [price of] food, where inflation is noticeable.”