Tens of thousands of workers across Brazil have walked off their jobs on Thursday in a nationwide strike demanding better working conditions and improved public services. Organized by Brazil’s biggest trade union federations, strikers are partially or completely blocking 17 highways in seven states.
Some schools have closed and some hospitals are operating with skeleton crews. But subway, bus and train workers in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro did not join the strike and transportation services function normally.
The strike, “National Struggle Day” follows mass nationwide protests hit Brazil last month.
The strikers are demanding better public transit, health and education services, agricultural reform and a reduced work week
Carrying unions and left-wing parties’ flags, protesters blocked highways including the Via Dutra, Brazil's most important highway that connects the cities of Rio de Janeiro and San Pablo. Access to the Santos port, the country's main ocean port, was also barred.
Although a court ruling ordered the normal operation of public transport in Rio and San Pablo, the cities of Porto Alegre, Vitoria, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Manaos and Santos woke up on Thursday morning with no public bus services.
The strike by organized labour follows weeks of spontaneous massive turnouts to protest transport conditions, rampant corruption, dreadful public services and pharaonic expenditure on soccer stadiums for the recent Confederation Cup.