12 de noviembre de 2014 / 14:33 / en 3 años

Two-days strike closes Argentine banks to the public

BUENOS AIRES, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Argentine bank workers demanding a reduction in income taxes began a two-day strike on Wednesday, the head of their biggest union said, closing the doors to the public while planning to continue back-room operations.

Inflation in Latin America’s No. 3 economy is seen hitting 40 percent in 2014, according to private estimates. That is almost double the government’s forecast, and labor unions across different industries say wages are rising far more slowly than prices.

“Congress refuses to consider tax reform,” said Sergio Palazzo, secretary general of the “La Bancaria” union. “Banks with extraordinary profits refuse to compensate us. All we can do is defend the purchasing power of wages.”

Financial traders said they expected reduced volumes in the currency, debt and stock markets during the labor action.

The union is also demanding an increase in the previously agreed-upon year-end bonus meant to compensate for prices rises, saying inflation is running higher than forecast.

Analysts say private companies are likely to find it harder than in previous years to meet workers’ pay demands as the country grapples with recession in the wake of another debt default.

Wednesday’s strike is the fifth carried out by the Bancaria union since late May. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi and Jorge Oatala; Editing by Richard Lough and Lisa Von Ahn)

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