NEWS | Brazil Workers Protest Against Cap on Public Spending

NEWS | Brazil Workers Protest Against Cap on Public Spending

Andreia Verdélio reports from Agência Brasil

NEWS | Brazil Workers Protest Against Cap on Public Spending

Image Attribute: Civil servants and workers from a wide range of sectors are staging stoppages across the country against the “removal of rights”Tomaz Silva/Agência Brasil

Civil servants and workers from a wide range of sectors are staging stoppages across the country against the “removal of rights” by a constitutional amendment bill known as PEC 55 and other measures devised by Temer's administration. The protest was spearheaded by the Unified Workers' Center (CUT), other trade unions and social movements.  

The bill, currently under deliberation in the Senate, stipulates that the government is only allowed to spend as much as the year prior, adjusted for inflation, for the next 20 years.  

“All throughout Brazil sectors are currently on strike, which means activity, services, and production has been halted. We're organizing this general strike due to the setback being imposed by the federal government in the form of PEC 55, approved by the lower house under the name of PEC 241, which freezes investment in education, health care, and social areas. This and a number of other issues being pushed by the government represent a step back for the working class,” said CUT Secretary-General in the Federal District Rodrigo Rodrigues.  

The federal government claims that the PEC will not cut down values earmarked for education and that the fiscal adjustment is necessary for a scenario assailed by an economic crisis.

Multiple demands  

Demonstrators also oppose the pension reform, which raises the minimum retirement age to 65 for both men and women, and also the tax and labor reforms. The provisional decree on the high school overhaul and the “surrender of pre-salt oil to foreign companies” also motivated the rallies.  

In the Federal District, marchers assembled outside the Ministry of Education building.  

No plans have been made to hold hearings or talks with representatives from the government, Rodrigues said. “We'll still demonstrate until all setbacks are reversed,” he added.  

In São Paulo, highway workers temporarily blocked sections of the road leading to the city, including Dutra, which connects Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

Pernambuco  

A number of sectors held demonstrations and stoppages across the state of Pernambuco this morning with members of the Landless Workers' Movement (MST). Federal highways were also shut as protesters set tires on fire at on several sections.  

Local demands were also brought to the fore in rallies throughout Pernambuco. Highway workers protest against bus robberies. According to the Pernambuco Highway Workers' Union (STTREPE), 1,564 robberies were reported, one worker was killed and three others shot.   

Translated by Fabrício Ferreira  | Edited by: Lílian Beraldo / Nira Foster
(c) 2016 Empresa Brasil de Comunicação S/A - EBC |  Creative Commons Atribuição 3.0 Brasil
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