Argentine President fires Labor Minister for increasing his salary and that of his Ministers and senior Cabinet officials

Tuesday, March 12, 2024
 – Argentine President, Javier Milei has fired his labour secretary for overseeing a 48 percent presidential pay increase last month amid the country's economic strain.

At the weekend, members of the left-leaning Peronist opposition shared details of a decree mandating the increase that bears the president’s signature.

During a live broadcast on LN+ channel on Monday, President Milei announced, “I’ve fired the labor secretary. Let’s say at this moment they’re notifying him.”

The president had been facing heavy criticism from the opposition, accusing him of hypocrisy for accepting a 48% pay increase while publicly denouncing lawmakers for their 30% salary hike.

Milei’s gross monthly salary rose from just over 4mn pesos, ($4,700 at Argentina’s official exchange rate) in January to just over 6mn pesos in February.

President Milei explained that the increases were triggered automatically under a decree signed by former president Cristina Kirchner, when salaries for public employees were uprated for inflation.

In response, Kirchner defended herself on social media, stating, “It was revealed that you and your cabinet increased your salary by 48%, and you have no better excuse than putting the blame on me, for a decree I signed 14 years ago? Admit that you signed it, cashed it out, and were caught.”

President Milei acknowledged the salary raise as an “error” that should not have happened.

Last week, Milei’s vice-president and Senate leader Victoria Villarruel and lower house leader Martín Menem approved a 30 per cent pay increase for legislators. Milei told local media on Thursday that he had asked them to reverse the rises.

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