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By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The waste removal workers of Rio de Janeiro’s Comlurb (the Municipal Cleaning Company) have gone on strike since yesterday night, March 12th and trash has already accumulated in the city’s streets the next morning. The workers demand a salary increase of 47.7 percent.

Trash piled up during Carnival, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Trash also accumulated during last year’s strike at Carnival, photo by Tomaz Silva/Agência Brasil.

The Worker’s Court, TRT, however already declared the strike as illegal early this morning and announced fines of up to R$100,000 for the representing union for each day that they continue. One of the reasons for the court’s decision is the noncompliance of 72 hours of prior notice before the strike.

The waste removal worker’s union demands a salary increase of 7.7 percent for the past year’s inflation and a forty percent increase in hazard pay, as well as an increase of the daily meal voucher from R$20 to R$27.

Comlurb so far has offered a salary increase of three percent, which the union had rejected as “irresponsibility and provocation”, in comparison to inflation.

With the lay down of work, around 15,000 residential, commercial and industrial waste removal workers have stopped sweeping the streets of Rio.

The accumulated garbage in the city this morning awakens memories of the last strike of the workers, which took place during last year’s Carnival.

That strike had taken place without any union support and lasted eight days. Comlurb granted a salary raise of 44 percent, reaching a base salary of R$1,100 plus R$440 of hazard pay.

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