By William Jones, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Strikes, protests and public unrest continue to blight Brazil’s host cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, Porto Alegre and Sao Paulo with the 2014 FIFA World Cup just under a week away. Major cities in Brazil continue to face disruption from the demands of public sector workers in areas such as teaching, transport, water and waste disposal.
The unions are using the upcoming FIFA football (soccer) tournament as leverage to achieve their goals and most are demanding an increase in basic levels or pay as well as improved working hours, better and safer working conditions and meal tickets.
Officials from the CEDAE (a state water and waste disposal company) in Rio de Janeiro also decided to strike for 24 hours this week culminating in a protest march of around a thousand people which caused the closure of Rua Pinheiro Machado.
Furthermore, school teachers in Rio have also been on strike since May 12th while the security guard strike continues to jeopardize the services of banks and other state run businesses.
In Sao Paulo a Subway worker strike caused angry scenes from commuters who vandalized the Itaquera station, the closest transport link to Arena Corinthians stadium and the venue for the World Cup’s opening game.
According to an O Globo report, the disgruntled passengers stormed the platform, tore down the gates and railings and began to walk along the tracks in protest.
Porto Alegre is experiencing similar problems with a municipal strike leading to garbage collectors being absent from work and large quantities of trash culminating in the street. In Coritiba as well, hospital workers are currently on strike leading to patient care being compromised.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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