By Stephen Eisenhammer, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The bus strike in the State of Rio, which has taken thousands of buses off the road and resulted in long queues in over fifteen cities and towns, is set to continue as Friday’s Regional Workers Tribunal (TRT) meeting between the bus workers union and the bus companies failed to reach an agreement.
The syndicate (Setrerj) which consists of thirty bus companies in Niterói, São Gonçalo, Itaboraí, Tanguá and Maricaare have offered employees a salary increase of ten percent alongside a 25 percent rise in the consumer basket – the index against which the salary is measured.
However, Joaquim Miguel Soares, president of the bus workers union, has rejected this proposal and affirmed the strike will continue. He is calling for a salary rise of sixteen percent with a hundred percent increase in the consumer basket.
The strike began on Thursday when over eighty percent of Setrerj’s 3,767 strong fleet were rendered out of action as the result of the industrial action.
Preliminary data suggested the strike had weakened slightly on Friday with an estimated 25 percent of Setrerj buses on the road. The bus companies need forty percent of their fleet to be operating to meet off-peak demands.
Setrerj claimed the rise in the number of buses on the road showed workers were satisfied with the deal. “Setrerj understands that many workers are realizing that the employer’s offer is advantageous and that this strike is nonsense”, Setrerj said in a statement.
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