Note from BW of Brazil: If you haven’t heard by now, millions of Brazilians are outraged with the sweeping reforms that President Michel Temer’s administration is implementing. These reforms could create drastic consequences for a large percentage of the population for decades to come. We covered these policies a few weeks back during a protest that took place in the nation’s largest and most economically important city, São Paulo. So what’s so bad about Temer’s proposals? Consider this. The average life expectancy in Brazil is 72 years of age. Under new proposals, workers would only be able to retire at age 65.
In the name of austerity, the government’s changes have the capability of taking the country back to the era of the Military Dictatorship in terms of workers’ rights, retirement and access to paths to better lives. Just a few years ago, we saw mass protests calling for the removal of President Dilma Rousseff with the end result leading to her impeachment. One has to wonder just what people who were pro-impeachment just over a year ago are thinking now with the draconian reforms that Temer and Congress are putting in place.
With so much at stake, hundreds of thousands of people across the nation to the streets to voice their discontent. Get the story through text and photos below.
The images of the General Strike throughout Brazil, on April 28, 2017, that will go into history books
Friday morning began with demonstrations throughout the country.
By Ana Beatriz Rosa
At dawn on Thursday (27), the Chamber of Deputies approved by 296 votes to 177 the project that changes the Consolidação das Leis do Trabalho (Consolidation of Labor Laws) (CLT), whose origins are in the 1940’s – the period in which Getúlio Vargas commanded the country.
Labor Reform, one of the priorities of the government of President Michel Temer, brings substantial impacts to the text. For the president, the new legislation will guarantee workers’ rights:
“Once in force, the new legislation will guarantee the rights of workers provided for in the Federal Constitution and boost the creation of jobs in the country. This is another important step forward to overcome the deepest economic crisis in our history,” he said.
The morning of this Friday (28), however, began with protests from those who see the changes as a setback for the working class.
Summoned by trade union centrals and social movements, members of various categories promise to stop and join a General Strike against reformas da previdência e a trabalhista (social security and labor reforms).
Member of MTST in protest in Brasilia.
The Greve Geral (General Strike) was convened by the Central Única dos Trabalhadores (Central of Workers) (CUT), ) Central dos Trabalhadores do Brasil (Central Workers of Brazil or CTB), Intersindical, Central e Sindical Popular (Central and Popular Workers) (CSP/ Conlutas), União Geral dos Trabalhadores (General Union of Workers) (UGT), Força Sindical, Nova Central, Central dos Sindicatos Brasileiros (Central of Brazilian Trade Unions or CSB) and Central Geral dos Trabalhadores do Brasil (General Central of Workers of Brazil) (CGTB).
At least 25 states adhered to the stoppages. Unions of the Federal District, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Bahia and Pernambuco declared support for the demonstration and organized a schedule of interventions for the day.
In São Paulo and Brasília, representatives of social movements made barricades and set fire to tires closing roads.
In punctual actions, public transportation lines were paralyzed at the start of the day in the SP state capital. There was also a blockage of the main highways that give access to the city.
At least 16 demonstrators have been detained in the city.
In Brasilia, the concentration of the stoppage took place in the Biblioteca Nacional (National Library) on its way to the Congress. In other states, public servants, bankers, bus drivers and teachers were among the protesters.
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In Campinas/SP, SINSAÚDE joined #GreveGeral and extended a banner in front of the headquarters in denouncing the labor and social security reforms.
01: 01-28 Apr 2017
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In Barra Mansa, in the southern region of Rio de Janeiro, the people are on Matriz street in action for the #GreveGeral (general strike). #BrasilEmGreve (Brazil on strike)
10:20-28 Apr 2017
In the capital of Minas Gerais, under rain, protesters occupied the center of Belo Horizonte. Bank branches were closed and the subway paralyzed.
In social networks, hashtags like #BrasilEmGreve and #GreveGeral are among the most talked about subjects.
100 years, same struggle
Friday’s General Strike takes place on the same date in which, in 1917, 100 thousand workers of São Paulo of a population of 500 thousand inhabitants decided to stop everything.
Despite the years that separate the two dates, the desire to paralyze the labor force to press the government continues as a flag of the main class entities of the country.
For the judge of the Regional Labor Court of the 10th Region Grijalbo Coutinho, the game is “unbalanced” and the worker needs to “react”.
“We have a very troublesome situation. In a society that calls itself democratic, the Constitution must be everyone’s, and clearly this is not happening in Brazil. For example, the lightning approval of the outsourcing project was absurd. The workers must react. We must remind the people of their power and the other organs their limits. It is fundamental to occupy all public spaces, only dialogue and strike can stop the attacks,” he said in an interview with HuffPost Brasil.
Modernization in the laws
The Labor Reform is supported by business entities. For the government, it will be able to generate more jobs.
Among the main changes in the text are the prevalence of agreements between employers and employees on the law, the end of compulsory union contributions, obstacles to labor lawsuits, the possibility of splitting holidays, and the flexibilization of employment contracts.
Source: Brasil Post
Brazil, like the rest of us, continue to resist! Know that the resistance is real… worldwide.
‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.’
~Martin Luther King, Jr.~