Argentina brokers 24 pct wage hikes for millions

Millions of Argentines to get 24 percent wage hikes ahead of negotiations with opposing unions

Associated Press

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- Two million Argentines will get wage hikes of 24 percent under a deal President Cristina Fernandez brokered with six allied labor unions.

Now the government is hoping for similar numbers in next month's salary negotiations with unions aligned with her political opponents. They're led by truckers' union boss Hugo Moyano, who says they'll be demanding 30 percent or more.

Meanwhile Labor Minister Carlos Tomada is denying that the wage hikes announced Wednesday night match the annual inflation estimates of private economists tracking consumer price increases. Those economists say inflation has been running about 25 percent a year, more than twice the official inflation rate of 10 percent. He told Argentina's C5N cable TV channel Thursday that the wage hikes match the profits of Argentine companies.

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