By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – After a hectic morning rush hour in São Paulo city, due to the partial strike by metro employees, a city court granted an injunction suspending the bidding and privatization auction two metro lines. The privatization, scheduled for this Friday, January 19th, was the reason for the 24-hour walkout.
“Basically, it can be said that this is a privatization funded with public resources. Irony to those conventional economists who defend the privatization of Brazilian state-owned enterprises as one of the main topics of economic-fiscal policy of austerity,” said Judge Adriano Marcos Laroca in his decision.
Judge Laroca considered the minimum established amount to be paid by the winner of the auction, approximately R$180 million, low in relation to the costs of the construction of the two metro lines of R$7 billion.
The strike which affected all metro lines in the city of São Paulo except those already under private administration, led thousands to wait in long bus lines to try to get to work on Thursday morning and again during the afternoon rush hour.
To try to ease the problem, São Paulo officials lifted the city-wide vehicle restrictions of cars with license plates ending in the number seven or eight, which are prohibited from trafficking during morning and afternoon rush hours on Thursday.
Officials also ruled that bus companies put most of their fleet out to accommodate those unable to use the metro lines.
“I saw that they put more buses on the streets, but that didn’t stop me from getting to work late by more than an hour and a half,” Sandra Silva told The RioTimes. “I’m angry at both those who adhered to the strike and the politicians trying to get their jobs. I wish they could resolve their problem without putting the rest of us through this (strike).”