Tags: Brazil | strike | workers | unions

Brazil Unions Vow to Shut Banks to Buses in National Strike

Wednesday, 10 Jul 2013 02:17 PM

Brazilian unions are planning a nationwide strike tomorrow, threatening to “paralyze” the country and halt banks, buses and government offices.

Striking workers, part of the umbrella group known as CUT, Brazil’s biggest union, are calling for a shorter work week, political reform and more worker protection, said Vagner Freitas, the organization’s president. He said they also want congress to direct all pre-salt oil royalties to education and health.

“We’re going to paralyze the city of Sao Paulo, starting in the morning and finishing with a big demonstration at midday,” Freitas said, adding that workers will meet near the General Motors factory outside Sao Paulo city.

Forca Sindical, another union federation, is also joining the strike, saying that millions of metal workers, civil construction and heavy construction workers will walk off the job, said Paulo Pereira da Silva, the group’s president. The union federation said demonstrations will start around midday on Paulista Avenue, one of Sao Paulo’s main roads. Strikers will also march to the national Congress in the morning in Brasilia and gather around 3 p.m. in Rio de Janeiro.

“Because of the demonstrations, the national congress is starting to pay attention,” Silva said. “Other sectors of the economy are protesting now that they see it can get results.”

Port company Santos Brasil said in a statement it will evaluate the extent of the problem to determine how to meet shipping obligations. General Motors declined to comment on the strikes, according to Nelson Silveira, a spokesman at the company’s headquarters in Sao Caetano.

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