Argentina issues decree making it harder for businesses to fire workers

The new “Decree of Need and Urgency” says in cases of dismissal without just cause during the term of the decree workers will be paid double the normal exit package. (File/AFP)
Updated 14 December 2019

Argentina issues decree making it harder for businesses to fire workers

  • Current inflation in the country is above 50%
  • New economy minister said the new administration will emphasize economic growth over the deficit reduction program

BUENOS AIRES: Argentine workers fired without just cause over the next 180 days will be paid double the normal exit package under a decree announced over the weekend, as the new government breaks with the pro-business stance of the previous administration.
The “Decree of Need and Urgency” says in cases of dismissal without just cause during the term of the decree, “the affected workers will have the right to receive double the corresponding compensation in accordance with current legislation.”
Peronist President Alberto Fernandez was sworn in on Tuesday, promising an end to outgoing leader Mauricio Macri’s pro-business policies, as inflation roars at above 50%, poverty increases and economic growth sputters.
The new economy minister on Wednesday said Macri’s fiscal tightening measures had failed, and that the new administration would emphasize economic growth over the deficit reduction program that was at the heart of Macri’s push to re-integrate Argentina with the international financial markets.
Argentina’s unemployment rate rose to 10.6% in the second quarter of 2019, a percentage point higher than a year earlier, the government said in a press release announcing the decree.
Young people were especially hard hit, it said, with young women suffering a jobless rate of 24%.
“By decision of President Alberto Fernandez, the public emergency in occupational matters is declared in view of the need to stop the aggravation of the labor crisis,” the press release announcing the decree said.


Aramco profits fall in tough quarter, but sees partial recovery from COVID-19 impact

Updated 6 min 26 sec ago

Aramco profits fall in tough quarter, but sees partial recovery from COVID-19 impact

  • Aramco see’s “partial recovery” from pandemic impact
  • Aramco president says company remains resilient

DUBAI: Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, reported a net income of $6.57bn for the second quarter of 2020, the period which witnessed the most volatile oil market conditions for many decades.

The result, announced to the Tadawul stock exchange in Riyadh where the shares are listed, compared with income of $24.7 bn last year.

Amin Nasser, president and chief executive, said: “Despite COVID-19 bringing the world to a standstill, Aramco kept going. We have proven our financial resilience and operational reliability, setting a record in our business operations, while at the same time taking steps to ensure the health and safety of our people.”

Aramco’s dividend - a big attraction for the investors who bought into the world’s biggest initial public offering last year - will remain as pledged, Nasser added. Cash flow in the quarter amounted to $6.106 bn.

““Strong headwinds from reduced demand and lower oil prices are reflected in our second quarter results. Yet we delivered solid earnings because of our low production costs, unique scale, agile workforce, and unrivalled financial and operational strength. This helped us deliver on our plan to maintain a second quarter dividend of $18.75 billion to be paid in the third quarter,” he said.

Aramco said the loss was “mainly reflecting the impact of lower crude oil prices and declining refining and chemicals margins, partly offset by a decrease in production royalties resulting from lower crude oil prices and a decrease in the royalty rate from 20 per cent to 15 per cent, lower income taxes and zakat as a result of lower earnings, and higher other income related to sales for gas products.”

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Sales and revenue in the period - which saw oil prices collapse on “Black Monday” in April - fell 57 per cent to $32.861 bn from the comparable period last year. 

Nasser said he was cautiously optimistic that the world economy was slowly recovering from the depths of the pandemic lockdowns.

“We are seeing a partial recovery in the energy market as countries around the world take steps to ease restrictions and reboot their economies. Meanwhile, we continue to place people’s safety first and have adapted to the new normal, implementing wide-ranging precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 wherever we operate.

“We are determined to emerge from the pandemic stronger and will continue making progress on our long-term strategic journey, through ongoing investments in our business – which has one of the lowest upstream carbon footprints in the world,” he added.

Aramco expects capital expenditure to be at the lower end of the $25bn to $30bn range it has already indicated for this year.