Another Headache for Brazil as Subway Workers Strike Days Before World Cup Opening

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By Vittorio Hernandez | June 10, 2014 8:09 AM EST

Besides the unfinished World Cup football stadiums days to the Thursday, June 12, opening of the FIFA-run sports event, Brazil got one more huge headache that could add to the embarrassment of the host-nation.

REUTERS
Teachers shout slogans as they protest against the 2014 World Cup outside a hotel where the Brazilian national soccer team are gathered, in Rio de Janeiro May 26, 2014. The Brazilian national soccer team will attend their first training session today. The sign reads: "There will be no World Cup, there will be strike".

Train workers in Sao Paulo voted on Sunday to continue their strike despite a court order imposing a 500,000-real daily fine for every day that the work stoppage goes on, beginning Monday. That is on top of the 100,000-real fine per day for the past four days.

The industrial action threatens to disrupt the opening games even as soccer teams from Germany, and England arrived in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. So far 18 of the 32 teams are now in Brazil, reports Business Insider.

Although the five-line subway system is partially running, trains do not reach the Corinthians Arena, venue of the opening game.

The four-day-old strike is over wage increases. Union workers initially sought a 16.5 per cent salary increase and eventually agreed to lower their demand to 12.2 per cent, but the employers are offering only 8.7 per cent.

On Friday, picketing strikers and police had a clash inside a metro station as the police force used truncheons and tear gas to disperse the strikers.

Sao Paulo Governor Geraldo Aickmin has threatened to fire rail workers who would not report for work on Monday, BBC reports.

In ruling against the union, the Sao Paulo court said the metro company acted in good faith and the rail workers breached strike regulations by not providing the minimum level of service required which is at least 70 per cent of trains should be running during the day 100 per cent during the morning and evening rush hours.

The rail service disruption has also caused massive traffic in the city.

Altino Prazeres, president of the metro workers' union, said, "it is not our intention to continue the strike into the World Cup. Our intention is to solve the problem. But that should be the government's aim too."

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(Photo: REUTERS / Ana Carolina Fernandez )
Teachers shout slogans as they protest against the 2014 World Cup outside a hotel where the Brazilian national soccer team are gathered, in Rio de Janeiro May 26, 2014. The Brazilian national soccer team will attend their first training session today. The sign reads: "There will be no World Cup, there will be strike".
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