By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Postal workers from several Brazilian states, including Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, have decided to remain on strike despite the labor court’s approval of the state-owned company’s plans to change the health plans of its employees. The nationwide strike on Monday had the objective of putting pressure on the courts to rule against the changes.
“The workers showed the government and company officials that they do not accept the withdrawal of rights and benefits,” Ronaldo Martins, president of the Rio de Janeiro chapter of SINTECT-RJ (Postal Worker’s Union) said on Monday night, vowing to continue the strike in the state.
“The mobilization will continue in defense of the state-owned company and against the neoliberal policies of (Correios’ President) Guilherme Campos, which threaten to close branches, overburden workers, suspend vacations and do away with the patrimony of the Brazilian people. We do not accept losing historic gains,” concluded Martins.
On Monday the Superior Labor Court ruled to accept the changes in Correios’ employee health plan which include the introduction of a monthly fee to be paid by employees for their health plans. Until now, employees and their family paid only a percentage of doctor visits and exams. To pressure the judges to reject the proposal, postal workers went on a 24-hour strike nationwide.
According to data released by Correios, the cost of the employees’ health insurance today represents 10 percent of the company’s revenues, or R$ 1.8 billion per year. “Currently, in addition to the employees, dependents and spouses, the health plan also cover health costs of employees’ mother and father,” says Correios’ press spokeswoman, Andressa Resende.
Now according to the changes, employees’ ascending dependents (fathers and mothers) will only be included in the employees’ health plan until July 2019. After this period, only those under medical care will be covered by the plan, until the end of the treatment.