By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – While Carnival celebrations continue throughout the city, trash generated by the multitude of partygoers is piling up in areas of Rio due to a street sweeper strike. Problems began on the morning of Saturday, March 1st when sweet sweepers from the city’s Municipal Urban Cleaning Company (Companhia Municipal de Limpeza Urbana, better known as Comlurb) went on strike.
Their demands included better working conditions, salaries and overtime payments. By Sunday, the second day of Carnival celebrations in the city, many streets were filled with trash.
Additionally, approximately four hundred striking street sweepers clashed with military police during the afternoon hours of Sunday. The incident took place as the group, who were making their way down Avenida Presidente Vargas towards the Sambódromo, were met by military police near City Hall.
The Justiça do Trabalho (Labor Court) had previously on Saturday declared the demonstration illegal and the military police reportedly dispersed the protestors with tear gas.
Comlurb issued a statement on Sunday that read in part; “We maintain the special cleaning routine scheduled during the Carnival period. Some parts of the city suffered with interferences of that schedule due to members of a group of strikers, who do not represent and are not with that recognized labor union movement, which is considered illegal by the Labour Court.”
“They hampered and delayed the completion of services at these location.” the statement continued, adding, “Comlurb is mobilized in the correction of cleaning the points where there were problems . The Company confirms that it is in negotiations with the labor union, as it does each year during the collective bargaining agreement. ”
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