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Brazil on Strike: Class Struggle in the Wake of the World Cup [The Bullet]

Many labour unions are either in the process of negotiating with their respective employers (mostly municipal, state, or federal governments) in Brazil, while others are actively on strike. These include federal workers from the government bureaucracy, school teachers, city staff, and university staff and faculty. In this piece, I would like to highlight how unions in the transportation sector are highly represented in these labour struggles. The Metro Workers Union of São Paulo is one of them and as of Monday, the 9th of June, it faces its fifth day of strike amidst layoff threats and a repressive state military police. Shortly before, the bus drivers of the city of São Paulo, represented by two unions, were also on strike. In both cases, the judiciary found the strikes to be ‘abusive’ and fined the unions hundreds of thousands of reais after ordering the workers back to their posts. The Metro Workers decided to continue the strike, with the support of a variety of social movements (including the Free Fare Movement – MPL, and the Homeless Workers’ Movement – MTST), political parties from the radical Left, and other labour unions. The judicial decision is being challenged for many reasons, but primarily for the fact that it is fuelled by illegalities committed on behalf of the employer that lead to the disavowal of the right to strike.

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