Argentina Labor Market

Most of the Argentines work in the service sector, but the industry still employs just under a quarter of the workforce and almost seven percent work in agriculture. In 2017, an Argentine out of three was estimated to be employed in the informal sector of the economy, and is therefore not covered by labor law. Many paperless immigrants also worked in the informal sector.

At the end of the 1990s, unemployment rose rapidly and in 2001 almost one in four Argentinians were missing. Since then the situation has improved. Between 2007 and 2018, according to official figures, it has been around 6-10 percent, but among young people it is expected to be significantly higher. Employment is also widespread.

The constitution guarantees the right to vacation, reasonable wages, the right to form independent unions and to strike. Militants and police are not entitled to organize themselves. In 2015, the federal government rejected a request from Buenos Aires police officers who wanted to form their own trade union organization.

In the 1940s and 1950s, a trade union movement was built that had, and has, strong ties to the Peronist Party. The largest central organization is the Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT) has been split several times. In 2008, a group broke out under the name Azul y Blanco. In 2016, they approached each other, but CGT is still divided into three main factions: CGT-Azul y Blanco (led by Luis Barrionuevo), CGT-Alsina (with Antonio Caló as leader) and CGT-Azopardo (led by Pablo Moyano). Another of the larger trade unions is the Central de Trabajadores de la Argentinos (CTA).

Trade unions have lost influence in recent years, but the organizations representing public employees and transport workers are still strong. However, they have demonstrated their power through a series of major strikes, and since the change of power in 2015 have protested against cuts in the public sector, low real wages and the pension reform that was decided in 2017. The largest trade union in one sector has special rights to negotiate collective agreements.. However, the legislation states that only one trade union is allowed per industry, but the Supreme Court has on several occasions, including 2008 and 2013, ruled that the law contravenes the constitution.

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Argentina Population

Trade unions have the right to announce strikes, but in the case of labor disputes in the public sector, a certain minimum service must be maintained and they can only take place after a 15-day settlement process. Collective bargaining is allowed at the regional, provincial and corporate levels.

The work week normally covers a maximum of 44 hours per week. Employees are entitled to a holiday of between two and five weeks. Those who have to work on Sundays are entitled to a salary premium of 100 percent. In recent years, more and more women have taken the step in the labor market.

Gender discrimination is prohibited by law, but women are more often in low-paid occupations than men, their wages are lower and more women than men are unemployed. According to the statistics agency Indec’s figures for 2017, women earn an average of 26 percent less than men, even when they had similar duties. In the informal sector, the wage gap was 35 percent. Women are overrepresented in low-wage jobs, and more men than women are found in high-wage jobs. In addition, more men than women have formal employment.

Still, the minimum wage is not enough to support a family. It was at the beginning of 2018 at the equivalent of $ 544 a month. Most people with formal employment earn more than that, while those in the informal sector have lower incomes. In the wake of the economic crisis, more Argentinians have found it difficult to cope with the economy as prices rise at a faster rate than wages.

Child labor is prohibited. Despite that, about every six children between the ages of five and 17 performed some form of work during the years 2010 to 2013, according to a study conducted by the Catholic University of Buenos Aires. At the same time, measures have led to a significant reduction in child labor since the beginning of the 2000s. This can be anything from lighter household chores, street sales to jobs in agriculture, industry and the mining industry.

Forced labor is prohibited, but still occurs, for example, in agriculture, in households, the textile industry and the construction sector. Particularly vulnerable are immigrants from Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru, as well as Argentinians from the poor northern parts of the country. Both men, women and children are exploited.



10.0 percent (2019)

Youth Unemployment

26.5 percent (2019)



Former president released by court

A court acquits former President Fernando de la Rua of charges of bribing senators in 2000 to approve controversial labor market reform


Agreement with Spanish oil company clear

At the end of the month, the government will agree with Repsol on how much the Spanish oil company will receive in compensation for the Argentine electricity company YPF, which was partially nationalized in 2012.

Leftist forces strengthen their position within the government

Jorge Capitanich takes over as new cabinet chief. He will thus in practice lead the daily work of the government. At the same time, Axel Kicillof is appointed new Finance Minister. He is considered to be far left on the political scale and belongs to the Victory Front Youth League La Cámpora. Kicillof has previously been seen most in connection with the re-nationalization of the airline Aerolineas Argentinas and the nationalization of parts of the Spanish oil company Repsol. At the same time, Juan Carlos Fábrega is appointed new Governor of the Central Bank.


Media law is approved by the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court approves the media law passed in 2009 is consistent with the Constitution. This means that several major media companies must now be divided. The law is considered to be specifically aimed at the media company Clarín, which now has to sell a number of licenses for TV and radio broadcasts.

The victory front will be the largest party in the congressional elections

The congressional election on October 27 applies to 127 seats in the House of Representatives and 15 in the Senate. The victory front loses votes in the election, but still manages to gain a majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. A major setback for the president is that Sergio Massa’s Renewal Front (FR) is progressing strongly in the province of Buenos Aires. The election result is also considered to weaken another peronist Daniel Scioli, since he is the leader of the Victory Front election campaign. Massa is now mentioned as a strong candidate in the 2015 presidential election.


The president is on sick leave for brain haemorrhage

President Fernández de Kirchner is on sick leave for a month for a minor brain haemorrhage. She is operated on in October (the bleeding must have been caused by a blow to the head, but nothing is said about what happened). This means that she is not taking an active part in the campaign ahead of the October congressional elections. According to the president’s inner circle, she still makes all the important decisions, despite her sick leave. This is particularly important for the government, as Vice President Amado Boudou’s position has been undermined by corruption charges.


Defeat for Argentina in US court

A US court orders Argentina to pay just over $ 1.3 billion to investors who did not agree to a renegotiation of their debt in 2005. The judgment is appealed to the US Supreme Court. If it goes along the same line, Argentina will find it difficult to pay its other debts. At the same time, the Argentine president is offering investors a new deal.

Primary elections will be setback for the Victory Front

The primary elections ahead of the October congressional elections are a setback for candidates from the president’s camp. It will thus be difficult for the government to change the constitution so that Fernández de Kirchner can stand in the 2015 presidential election. Victory Front also loses support in its former stronghold in the province of Buenos Aires, where a Peronist outbreak group Renewal Front(FR) is progressing strongly. It is led by Sergio Massa who left the Victory Front just over a month earlier. The president himself says that the media gives a false picture of the primary election, which she believes is a great success for the Victory Front. It also received the most votes, seen across the country: 26 percent. The primary elections are open, which means that voters can vote for an opposing party, but no one may vote more than once.


Videla dies in prison

Former dictator 87-year-old Jorge Videla dies in prison where he served a life sentence for abuse committed during the dictatorship years.


The government gets a homework for media law

In the middle of the month, the government is hit by a backlash in the conflict with the media group Clarín, when a court decides that several sections of the media law violate the constitution. This applies to section 45 which sets a limit on how many cable TV channels a media company can own and section 48 which speaks of “undue concentration” of broadcasting licenses to a media company. The government says it will appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

Néstor Kirchner is accused of money laundering

Former President Néstor Kirchner is accused in the media of being involved in money laundering on a large scale and sending money to tax havens such as Belize, Panama and Seychelles.

Strike in protest of legal reform

In the middle of the month, the Senate approves parts of the proposed legal reform (see March 2013). After that, the union Unión de Empleados de Justicia (UEJN) announces a 72-hour strike in protest against this. On April 18, large demonstrations will be held against legal reform in several parts of the country. The protesters also express dissatisfaction with high inflation and widespread crime.


Argentines are elected pope

14th of March

Argentine Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio is elected pope for the Catholic Church under the name of Francis I. This is the first time a pope has been appointed from a country outside Europe.

Legal reform is criticized by the opposition

The president announces plans for a “democratization” of the judiciary. As a first point, she mentions general elections to appoint the 13 members of the body that appoints judges at national level and who decide on disciplinary action against judges (today it consists of three members from the Chamber of Deputies, three from the Senate, one from the government, three judges and two lawyers and one academic). Fernández de Kirchner describes it as a democratization of the system, but her critics believe the proposal contravenes the constitution and means that the judiciary is “politicized”. The government is also planning to create three new court cases for civil cases.

Menem is dropped for arms deals

Former President Carlos Menem is being held in court for selling over 6,000 tonnes of weapons to Croatia and Ecuador in the 1990s, at a time when both countries were at war and the UN had embraced them with arms embargo. Another 10 people, including the then Defense Minister Oscar Camilion, are being dropped at the same time. In 2010, all had been released by a lower court. However, there will be another court deciding what punishment they should receive. As a senator, Menem is immune to prosecution, but the possible punishment can be punished when his term expires.


The IMF criticizes Argentina for lack of economic statistics

The Argentine government receives a reprimand from the IMF for the deficiencies in the economic statistics. If no improvement is made until September 2013, the Argentine government will not be allowed to take any decisions within the IMF. At the same time, Argentine dissatisfaction is growing with prices rising so fast. According to the government, inflation is 11 percent, while others believe it is twice as high. At the same time, the wage movement is ongoing, where unions demand that their members be compensated for the high prices. In an attempt to address this, the government, in collaboration with most of the country’s largest retail chains, decides to introduce a two-month price halt.


New commission to investigate terrorist acts in 1994

Argentina and Iran agree to appoint a commission to investigate an explosive attack against a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994. The commission will consist of five independent judges, all from third countries. Israel expresses “surprise” at the appointment of the Commission. Iran has already previously agreed that cooperation in the investigation, some Argentine Jews expressed concern as they distrust Iran and fears that the efforts of the authorities to bring the guilty to trial will be weakened.

Argentina Labor Market