By Sarah de Sainte Croix, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With the holiday season almost upon us, Brazilian airport workers and airline staff are threatening to strike from December 22nd over a pay dispute. The National Federation of Civil Aviation Workers (Fentac) are currently requesting a ten percent increase in wages, but the employers are only offering three percent.

Airport Workers Threaten to Strike, Brazil News
Planes could be grounded over the holiday period if threatened strike goes ahead, photo by Abdallahh/Flickr Creative Commons License.

Workers had previously asked for a thirteen percent raise but, according to Fentac, they lowered their expectations as a demonstration their willingness to negotiate.

Celso Klafke, president of the Fentac, said, “We do not want to cause problems for people traveling during this period. We want to avoid problems just before Christmas.”

But he continued, “We cannot accept a raise lower than inflation, because that would mean that workers would earn less in 2012 than they receive today.”

The inflation in Brazil has remained among the highest in the world despite government efforts to manage it by raising interest rates. Brazil’s inflation forecast is 6.4 percent this year, slipping to five percent in 2012.

“Airlines have raised the prices for passengers by about 56 percent in recent months … Therefore, it is fair and viable for the companies,” he said.

A meeting between Fenac and the airline management teams is due to take place today.

The airport transportation system is already under pressure to increase capacity and performance in preparation for the massive influx of visitors for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. To the extent that the Brazilian government moved towards privatizing the country’s five largest airports in May of this year.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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