Metro workers debate whether to continue their strike at a
meeting in Sao Paulo. REUTERS/Stringers/Brazil
Sao Paulo's metro workers have voted to stay off work for
a fifth day even after a court declared the strike illegal,
complicating preparations for the World Cup opening match.
Another vote on the strike was scheduled for Monday at 1pm
(local time), after a rally in downtown Sao Paulo in which
they will be joined by homeless' workers and other social
"The (metro workers') union sent an official request to
President Dilma Rousseff asking her to help the category
reopen talks with the (Sao Paulo) state government," which
controls the subway system, the union said in a note on
A court on Sunday set a 500,000 reais penalty ($223,000) for
each day they stay off work from Monday. It also declared the
strike illegal, paving the way for state-owned Companhia do
Metropolitano de Sao Paulo to lay off striking workers.
Metro workers' demand a 12 percent pay rise, but Metro has
offered 8.7 percent.
With major subway lines closed since Thursday, commuting in
Brazil's largest city has been chaotic.
The strike snagged several FIFA officials in over two hours
of traffic as they arrived for a conference ahead of the
World Cup last week, which kicks off with a Brazil v Croatia
match in Sao Paulo on Thursday.
On Friday, police used tear gas to break up a demonstration
blocking access to one metro station.
Frustration with broken promises and the ballooning cost of
new World Cup stadiums contributed to widespread protests
that drew over a million Brazilians into the streets during a
warm-up tournament last year. This year, the largest
demonstrations so far have been from homeless groups and
striking workers using the backdrop of the World Cup to press