Since the turn of the century, labour conflict in Argentina has taken on a wide and diverse range of forms and expressions influenced by economic cycles and changing political conditions. In the context of economic stagnation and unemployment surrounding the 2001 crisis, workers’ demands were framed within wider patterns of social mobilization which saw less significance attached to union–led mobilization. This was the time of road occupations by the initiative of the unemployed to demand productive employment, and of the factory occupations – the so–called ‘recovered factories’ – by which workers defended their jobs and reinvented it under workers’ control. Both processes gained worldwide resonance and have been analysed widely in the international literature (Atzeni and Ghigliani 2007, Bryer 2010, Dinerstein 2002, 2008, Grigera 2006). However, since the economic recovery of 2003 the return to more traditional labour conflicts and the revitalization of unions together with the increase of collective bargaining have taken place. This renewed strength of Argentinean unions has been explained by a combination of economic, political and institutional variables, inter alia economic and employment growth, which resulted in a steady reduction of unemployment rates (Kosacoff 2010), government emphasis in employment generation and collective bargaining (Palomino and Trajtenberg 2006), and the role given to central union confederations in tripartite bodies (Etchemendy and Collier 2007).
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