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Transit strike challenges new Argentine leader

Argentine President Reynaldo Bignone faced his first challenge from labor unions Wednesday, when a 24-hour strike by bus drivers and railroad workers virtually halted public transportation.

The strike, called to support wage demands, was the first major successful strike in Argentina since the armed forces consolidated their rule shortly after seizing power in 1976. It followed the collapse of last-minute negotiations between the bus drivers' union and the Labor Ministry. The strike came against a background of record unemployment, unofficially put at 18 per cent, and falling wages, resulting from three-figure inflation.

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