By Matthew Elliott, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The nationwide strike of bank employees completed one week yesterday and continues to intensify amid peaceful protests in several cities. Strategic bases, like call centers, have also participated in the action as 10,024 bank branches across 26 states remained closed yesterday.
The Command of the National Banks (CNB), which represents 95 percent of banks throughout Brazil, will meet today to assess the first week of the strike. Carlos Cordeiro, President of the National Confederation of Workers in the Financial Area and coordinator of the CNB remained committed to the strike.
“We need to further strengthen the movement, further extend the strike to force the reopening of negotiations to win a decent proposal, increasing real wages,” he said.
The National Federation of Banks (Fenaban) has proposed a 6.1 percent salary adjustment for inflation on September 5th. The offer was rejected by the strikers who are demanding a 11.93 percent increase, which represents the sum of inflation plus a five percent real increase, as well as additional social benefits. More hiring, less outsourcing, better working conditions and equal opportunities for race and gender are among the bank workers’ demands.
Fenaban have released a statement regretting the union’s position and emphasizing that the banks “respect the right to strike, however, they will do whatever is legally necessary and appropriate to ensure the population’s access to banking establishments and employees.”
Rallies and demonstrations have been held across the country with marches in São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro and Campo Grande. Other cities are expected to follow, according to Cordeiro.
“We will increase street protests to engage with customers and society, showing that banks, whose profits reached R$29 billion in the first half of this year, are fully capable of meeting the economic and social demands of the bank, reducing high rates interest and fees charged to customers and ensuring quality care to the population,” Cordeiro affirmed.
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