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Argentine banking union calls off strike, accuses Macri of "double standard"

Argentina's national banking union, Asociación Bancaria, has called off a systemwide strike planned for Dec. 15 but plans to maintain pressure on foreign-owned banks to accept its salary demands, the union said in a press release.

Workers at foreign-owned banks and central bank Banco Central de la República Argentina were scheduled to hold a work stoppage Dec. 14 to pressure the international lenders into agreeing to the union's salary demands.

The union had planned to extend the strike to the whole banking system Dec. 15 but reversed its decision considering "the number of retirees and social welfare beneficiaries" who need banking services at this time of the year.

Instead, union officials will meet with banks and Labor Ministry officials Dec. 16.

The union reiterated its call for the chamber of foreign-owned banks, ABA, to sign the salary agreement reached by the union with local banking associations Adeba and Abappra in late November. It also criticized the Senate for postponing a vote on an income tax reform that has been approved by the lower house.

The union accused President Macri of "influence trafficking" and having "a double standard" by allegedly pressuring provincial governors to maintain the current tax level on bank workers, "which benefits the most powerful economic sectors."