By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Postal workers in the several Brazilian cities have decided to strike ‘indefinitely’ after rejecting a proposal from the TST (Superior Labor Court). The workers of the ECT (Postal and Telegraph Company) are demanding a ten percent increase in wages and improvement on daily lunch stipend (vale refeição) benefits.
Among the cities where postal workers are striking are Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Porto Alegre, and Brasília. Postal workers in the states of Bahia and Tocantins are also remaining at home.
According to ECT officials after the meeting between postal workers and ECT executives, the company offered to give R$200 bonus to all workers, an increase of 9.56 percent in their benefits, which includes grocery/lunch stipend and day care stipend, and the incorporation of R$150 of the bonus for productivity into their wages starting in 2016. TST President, Judge Ives Gandra said the proposal did not offer any wage increases for postal workers.
The strike movement is national, but according to the ECT of the 36 postal unions, seventeen did not adhere to the strike. The government agency says that in locations where workers are on strike a contingency plan will be put into effect to guarantee deliveries.
According to a flyer handed out to workers by Sintect-SP (Postal and Telegraph Workers Union of the state of São Paulo) during the assembly on Tuesday night before workers voted on the strike ‘in addition to trying to deceive the workers, this time the ECT wants to deceive the TST, trying to convince it that the bonus would be a gain for workers’.
According to Sintect-SP leaders the postal company is making ‘indecent’ proposals to workers while increasing executives’ salaries by thirty percent. One of the longest postal workers’ strike in Brazil’s recent history occurred in 2011, when workers remained home for 28 days, before being ordered by the courts to return to work.