June 29, 2017
Rio Airport Strike Suspended: Partial Strike Plans Quashed As World Cup Begins

A Rio airport strike plan was quickly altered as a court ordered the workers involved to get back on the job. The Brazilian airport strike came as large numbers of travelers head to the city for the World Cup. Bloomberg shared the latest details on the union's plans to help airport workers.

A partial Rio airport strike began Wednesday night, but a court indicated they would start fining the union by the hour if workers didn't return to their positions. The strike was put into place to pressure employers to increase wages and add a bonus during the busy World Cup season. Reports indicate that there were no delayed or canceled flights during the short and partial strike.

There was an impact on some travelers in the early hours of the Rio airport strike, however. Some workers blocked traffic, causing some passengers to miss their initial flights. The airport workers are not the only ones initiating a strike during this World Cup season. Teachers and federal museum workers have done the same.

The Huffington Post indicates that the Rio airport strike began at midnight on Wednesday, the night before the World Cup started. The plans involved both the Galeao International Airport as well as the smaller Santos Dumont Airport. Unions representing the workers, which include janitors, counter clerks, and baggage handlers, had been seeking at least 5.6 percent raises.

The plan was to have about 20 percent of the workers strike for 24 hours. The court injunction indicated that the unions needed to keep staffing at 80 percent of the norm if they wanted to avoid the substantial fines. The decision to strike came after about nine months of negotiations, reports indicate.

The World Cup attracts about three million Brazilians along with 600,000 international travelers. The first matches took place on Thursday with games continuing until July 13. Subway workers in Sao Paulo also considered striking during the opening games, but decided to hold off on their plans. They had been on strike for five days leading up to the games, but have suspended further action for now.

At this point it remains unclear whether the workers affected by the airport workers unions will attempt to take further action during the World Cup games. The court order to maintain staffing levels clearly made the unions and workers change course, but the Rio airport strike issue may not be entirely gone as of yet.