No Options Left, Nationwide Strike in June: Brazilian Workers


Either Bolsonaro’s social security reform is wiped out or “we bring Brazil to a halt,” workers organizations said.Protester holds a Brazilian flag with President Jair Bolsonaro image and the words: "Shame, No to social security reform" in Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 1, 2019.

Protester holds a Brazilian flag with President Jair Bolsonaro image and the words: “Shame, No to social security reform” in Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 1, 2019. | Photo: Reuters | Photo from teleSUR.

2 May 2019 (teleSUR)* — Brazil’s most powerful trade union federations announced Wednesday that a nationwide strike will be carried out on June 14 to reject the far-right President Jair Bolsonaro and halt his neoliberal policies which are damaging the people’s most basic economic, social, cultural and political rights.

On Labor Day, more than 200,000 people in Sao Paulo, the Brazilian workers’ associations participated in a march to reject Bolsonaro’s social security reform proposal and demand the immediate release of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Trade union leaders also criticized Bolsonaro’s economic team and emphasized the importance of their next strike.

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“It is approved! Brazil will strike in defense of the right to retirement. The only way to wipe out that reform is by fighting in the streets. General strike,” Unified Workers’ Central (CUT) President Vagner Freitas said and added that Bolsonaro is “cruel to the people” because he wants to end most forms of public aid to sick people, pregnant women and the poor.

The Worker’s Force (FS) president, Miguel Torres, stressed that the impending nationwide strike is the result of a CUT agreement.

“Our constant struggle builds unity and we will stay together until the pension system reform proposal is terminated,” he said.

On the other hand, the Central of Workers of Brazil (CTB) leader, Adilson Araujo, warned that if the pension reform is not curbed, then the right to retirement will disappear.

The Congress Lower House will review a constitutional amendment next week which increases the minimum contribution time from 15 to 20 years and limits works’ pension benefits workers to 60 percent.

Regarding this sort of law reforms, the Worker’s Party former presidential candidate, Fernando Haddad, said the Brazilian government has “alienized people” and Bolsonaro is now a “persona non grata” worldwide, Brasil de Fato reported.

If this proposal is approved, Brazilian workers will have to contribute to the pension system for at least 40 consecutive years, which means that men will no longer retire at 65 years old or women at 62.

“There is no other way. Either the reform proposal is suspended or we will bring Brazil to a halt,” Araujo stressed.

In Brazil, the first nationwide strike was organized by the Communist Party and the Committee of Working Women in 1917. Currently, the General Union of Workers (UGT), the Worker’s New Central Trade Union (Nova Central) and Brazil’s Union Center of Workers (CTB) are also among the main labor union federations.

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