Brazilian strike wave

Submitted by Anon on 8 October, 2004 - 9:51

Workers’ strikes across Brazil are winning wage rises after years of declining purchasing power.

More than 100,000 metalworkers in ABC, an industrial district in Sao Paulo where major steel, auto and other heavy industry is located, have begun to hold a series of stoppages in companies that refuse to agree to a 9.57% pay rise.

Bank employees are continuing their two-week-long work stoppage, and pilots working for Brazil's VASP airline went on strike to demand the payment of back wages. Court workers in Sao Paulo returned to work last week after a 91-day strike.

Oil and chemical industry workers are threatening to go on strike if their demands for higher wages and better working conditions are not met.

The Inter-Union Department for Statistics and Socioeconomic Studies found that in the first half of this year, trade unions regained lost wages in 79% of their collective bargaining efforts, “reversing an eight-year tendency” during which inflation steadily reduced workers’ real incomes.

The strikes are led by the Central Unica de Trabalhadores (CUT), Brazil’s largest trade union federation, which has historically had close links with the Workers’ Party — now the ruling party. The CUT called for workers to launch a campaign to recover wages in the second half of the year, taking advantage of faster economic growth.

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