Photo via mdzol.com

It’s only been a few days since union leaders and social organizations met in front of Congress to demand that a “social emergency law” be enacted, but President Mauricio Macri is unfazed. In fact, while attending the launch of a new City Government program to teach the use of digital ad tools, he struck back by saying that it’s time to “renew” the union world and to “rethink labor agreements in order to create jobs.”

Without naming them specifically, and while discussing the advancement of technology, Macri went after union leaders like Hugo Moyano “who have been in power for 20 or 30 years.”

He said in Argentina “we need the unions to get renewed, to be able to think themselves… and maybe we also need to wonder whether those leaders who have been in power for 20 or 30 years are able to understand that necessity.”

And while this statement alone probably drew the ire of many in the CGT or CTA labor organizations, Macri took it one step further by saying, in that context, that labor leaders need to “sit down and rethink all labor agreements.”

“We’re in the 21st Century and we can’t continue to apply collective labor agreements from the 20th Century. By holding on to them, all we do is weaken those jobs people already have.”

And while Macri seemed to be referring to the need to get with the times, union leaders immediately sounded the alarm at the President’s statements, arguing that they were a veiled prelude to his attempt to strip workers of their rights and a return to labor market flexibility.

This morning, the secretary general of the CTA union, Hugo Yasky, came out against the President and defiantly said workers wouldn’t “give up the rights they fought so hard to conquer.”

“The right to work is money that they see as a loss. It’s all expenses to them and they want to reduce it. They are coming for everything, for justice and workers’ rights,” he said.

Yaski didn’t stop there. He also said “people are still getting fired and and economy is still stagnant. In 2016 our salary will be worth between eight to ten points less of what it used to. This is a government for the powerful and the rich.”