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Brazilian Subway Workers Suspend Strike

  • VOA News

Residents hold up signs that read, "Metro workers: The people support you," outside Ana Rosa subway station during the fifth day of metro worker's strike in Sao Paulo, Brazil, June 9, 2014.

Residents hold up signs that read, "Metro workers: The people support you," outside Ana Rosa subway station during the fifth day of metro worker's strike in Sao Paulo, Brazil, June 9, 2014.

Subway workers in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo voted late Monday to suspend their labor strike, which threatened transportation in the country's biggest city just days before it hosts the opening World Cup football (soccer) match.

A statement said a final decision on ending the job action will come Wednesday, with the outcome contingent on the re-hiring of 42 workers fired for joining the five-day labor protest.

A short while before the suspension announcement, a construction worker was killed in an accident at a Sao Paulo monorail construction site, as city officials and workers scrambled to complete the project before the opening of the 32-nation tournament. The line was to connect the airport to the city's metro but is behind schedule.

Earlier Monday, about 150 strikers and their supporters set fire to piles of garbage on one central avenue, and police fired stun grenades and tear gas to disperse them.

Subway workers are seeking a pay increase of just above 12 percent, while the government's subway company was offering an 8.7 percent increase.

A Sao Paulo labor court ruled Sunday the strike is illegal and fined the workers' union $175,000 for the first four days of the strike. It said the fine would increase by $220,000 for each day the work stoppage continues.

The subway workers' dispute is the latest in a string of anti-government protests against government spending to host soccer's biggest event and the 2016 Summer Olympics. The demonstrators say Brazil should be spending more on such public services as hospitals and schools to directly benefit its population.
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