Police strike ends in Rio de Janeiro
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (BDCi) – A police strike in Rio de Janeiro ended Monday just days before the city explodes in chaos for the world’s biggest Carnival bash.
The strikes, and the threat of similar action in other Brazilian states, had raised concerns about Brazil’s security forces ahead of its hosting of the 2014 World Cup and Rio’s hosting the 2016 Olympics.
Fernando Bandeira, president Sinpol, of one of the unions representing police, said the officers and firefighters together decided to end the strike because “we don’t want to harm our Rio, especially during Carnival.”
He warned, however, that officers would take up their grievances once the party is over.
“What we were given were crumbs, and not even close to what we asked for,” he said. “After Carnival we’re going to talk again to renew our demands. The movement is alive.”
The work stoppage began with much fanfare in a large rally in Rio’s center late last Thursday, the same day the state legislature voted to give officers a 39-percent raise staggered over this year and the next. However, that was just half of what the officers were seeking.
While the current base pay for police starts at $964 per month in Rio state, it can go to $1,169 for a starting officer willing to participate in available training courses, the department said. The 39-percent raise will atop that, but won’t go fully into effect until next year.
Dozens of striking police and union leaders in Rio were arrested and remain jailed and Bandeira said getting them freed was now the union’s main concern.
By: Natania Levine
14 February 2012
10:01 a.m P.S.T