Buenos Aires (AFP) - Argentina's largest labor union, the CGT, has declared its first general strike under President Mauricio Macri to protest the conservative leader's economic policies, a spokesman said Friday.
The CGT has still not set a date for the 24-hour strike, union official Juan Carlos Schmid said.
The decision comes after months of criticizing a rightward policy shift under Macri, who took office in December vowing to reignite growth in Latin America's third-largest economy with free-market reforms.
"The economy still isn't taking off, and consumption has been falling for seven months now," Schmid told a news conference.
Argentine unions, which are broadly allied with the opposition, are calling for new salary negotiations in the face of inflation expected to hit 43 percent this year.
"We're not cutting off talks (with the administration). But the responsibility for change lies with the government," said another union leader, Carlos Acuna. "We're facing unemployment, unfair income taxes and utility rate hikes."
Macri came to power with a flurry of reforms, slashing import and export taxes, announcing subsidy cuts for electricity and natural gas, and ending currency controls -- which triggered a sharp devaluation of the peso and fueled inflation.
But the promised growth has yet to arrive.
The economy shrank 2.1 percent in the second quarter, sinking deeper into a recession that began in the last quarter of 2015, officials said Thursday.
Now Macri is facing a growing fightback from opponents, unions and the courts.
Federal court rulings have blocked his moves to slash electricity and gas subsidies -- a hated policy that had sent customers' bills soaring an average of 700 percent.
A poll released Friday found 57.2 percent of Argentines say workers' lives are worse now than when Macri took office, ending 12 years of leftist rule under former president Cristina Kirchner and her late husband, Nestor.
Sixty percent of Argentines say Macri governs in favor of the business sector, according to the poll by the consulting firm Analogias.
The CGT staged a major protest against Macri's government in April, when 350,000 people marched against layoffs and the slumping economy.
It was the union's largest demonstration in two decades.