(Photo via Telam/Analía Garelli)

A 24-hour strike in protest of the government’s planned pension reform bill is now in effect, with the powerful CGT umbrella union announcing the measure hours before the start of today’s session in the Lower House.

Transport unions have however opted not to join the strike for the time being, with short, medium and long-distance buses operating until midnight tonight. The subway is expected to run as normal until 6 PM, and intermittently afterwards. The trains will also run until midnight. None of these services will run tomorrow.

Flights have been disrupted both at Ezeiza and Aeroparque airports and are not expected to return to normal until 3pm tomorrow.

Public transport was guaranteed today “so that workers and protesters can return home” said Juan Carlos Schmid, one of the three leaders of the CGT. The CGT itself is not mobilizing to Congress today, but left the option open to each union whether to participate or not.

Schmid called the pension reform bill “illegitimate” and that it constituted an affront “because the cutback (in pensions) is significantly greater than the amount of the bonus that the government is offering in compensation, which is just a patch.” In addition to promising a series of legal appeals against the bill if it’s approved, the CGT has announced that it will ask the government to carry out a referendum or “popular consultation” to see if the bill has broad support within society.