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Argentine banking union extends strike over wage demands

Argentina's national banking union, Asociación Bancaria, announced that workers at foreign-owned banks and central bank Banco Central de la República Argentina will strike on Dec. 14 and Dec. 15 to pressure the international lenders into agreeing to the union's salary demands.

The union initially declared a 24-hour strike on Dec. 15 only, but the stoppage has been extended for workers in banking associations ABA and ABE, as well as the central bank, according to a Dec. 12 statement on Asociación Bancaria's website.

The union's leadership is also authorized to call another 48-hour strike during the week of Dec. 19, if necessary.

The chamber of foreign-owned banks, ABA, is the only national banking industry chamber that has so far refused to sign the salary agreement reached by the union with local banking associations Adeba and Abappra in late November.

In its statement, the union rejected what it called an "attempt at extortion by ABA to sabotage the implementation of the agreement" and blamed the chamber's board and member banks for starting the "conflict."

The union also said Labor Minister Jorge Triaca is responsible for ensuring the wage agreement is implemented as planned. The agreement calls for an end-of-year bonus of between 8,000 Argentine pesos and 12,000 pesos for workers depending on their salary, among other benefits.

As of Dec. 12, US$1 was equivalent to 16.07 Argentine pesos.