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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Officers of the policiais civis (civil police) force in Rio de Janeiro state have announced a 72-hour walkout until the full payment of December wages, Christmas bonus and other benefits are paid to both police in the force and retirees. The announcement comes on the day that the Penitentiary Workers Union (SindiSistema) also announced a one-week strike for the payment of back wages.

Brazil, Rio de Janeiro,Police officers met on Monday to decide a 72-hour walkout for back pay,
Police officers met on Monday to decide a 72-hour walkout for back pay, photo courtesy of ColpolRJ.

“The sector opted for the strike until next Monday (January 23rd), throughout the State Penitentiary System, when there will be a new Assembly for evaluation and deliberation for the continuity or not of the strike movement,” said the press statement by SindiSistema.

Adding “During the strike, only essential services such as food, medical emergencies and release permits will be carried out. There will be no entrance of visitors, no transport of inmates to criminal courts or receiving of new prisoners.”

The Coalition of Police Officers of Rio de Janeiro (Colpol-RJ) says that if the back payments are not made in that period, they will declare a strike for an undetermined period, with only thirty percent of the staff remaining to perform essential services, such as removal of dead bodies from public roads and handling of violent crimes such as rape, homicide and kidnapping will continue.

The walkout and strike by security agents in Rio is bound to make residents even wearier. In the past few weeks an increase in petty crime and robberies along the beaches, and a lack of police presence, has been a main source of concern among Rio residents.

On Monday, Rio’s state government announced it had paid to all its employees the November 2016 wages. According to state officials the December wages will be paid in full by the end of the week, but there is no word of when the state will be able to pay the Christmas bonus (the extra monthly salary paid to all Brazilian workers in December).

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