Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Brazil: State Gov't Dismisses 60 Metro Workers as Walkout Mounts, Visitors: Travel Light, Be Prepared for Worst

According to The Latin American Tribune, an "illegal"walkout threatens to leave without transport thousands of fans who will attend Thursday’s (June 12) inaugural match of the 2014 soccer World Cup at São Paulo’s Arena Corinthians Stadium.
The news about strikers being fired came after police used tear gas to scatter a group of demonstrators who tried to block access to a metro station.

The São Paulo state government said it can and will get tough with strikers under the Regional Labor Court ruling that declared the strike illegal.

“Who got fired? Those who had already been booked for vandalism, improper use of the subway, who physically blocked access or who incited the public to enter without paying. In conclusion, those who committed the most serious offenses,” the transport secretary of São Paulo, Jurandir Fernandes, said on a local radio station.

Only 255 of the 1,534 metro employees scheduled to work Monday morning (June 9) actually showed up.

COMMENT: I strongly urge that visitors to FIFA travel as light as they possibly can, verify you have accommodation reservations, use an under-the-garment device for valuables and be flexible, as the unions seem to be committed to disrupting the games.

Metro workers decided at a meeting Sunday that they would stick to the walkout despite the court ruling.

São Paulo Gov. Geraldo Alckmin ordered police reinforcements sent to all metro stations to ensure security for employees wanting to return to work.

Despite the strike, two of the five metro lines were operating normally on Monday, while trains on the other three were operating, but not all their stations were open.

The Regional Labor Court also said the union must pay a fine of 500,000 reais ($222,000) a day if the shutdown continues.

The court at a conciliatory hearing set a wage hike of 8.7% for workers on the state-government-run São Paulo subway, compared with the 12.2% demanded by the union.

“We have a World Cup, the biggest sports event in the world. The state government has elections late this year (October), it has to negotiate. We have to confront the government,” the union president said in justifying the decision to continue the strike.

Public sector unions in the twelve Brazilian cities hosting World Cup matches have been taking advantage of the approach of the June 12-July 13 competition to press demands for higher pay.

At the same time, social media are staging protests over the huge sums of public money spent on the competition.

This development will be updated daily until until such time as the discourse is resolved.