EspañolA bus drivers strike in Rio de Janeiro came to an end on Wednesday night, previously leaving millions of people without transportation and wreaking havoc in Brazil’s second-largest city.
Drivers launched the protest last Thursday, demanding monthly salaries of R$2,500 (a 40 percent raise) and an end to their double duty as drivers and fare collectors. More than 500 buses were trashed or set on fire in Rio de Janeiro. Since negotiations did not prosper over the weekend, bus drivers then launched a 48-hour strike beginning on Tuesday.
Only 40 percent of Rio de Janeiro’s privately-run bus fleet operated during the strike, despite a court ruling threatening to fine the drivers’ union US$23,000 a day if they failed to keep at least 70 percent of buses on the road.
Despite an end to the 48-hour strike, drivers have not agreed to the 10 percent raise offered by bus companies and unions, and have announced plans for more strikes to come. The majority of Rio de Janeiro’s 6 million residents depend on buses to get to work, since the metro and train networks do not cover large sections of the city.
Brazil has been hit by a series of strikes in the run-up to the World Cup, including by police, and there are fears of widespread protests during the international tournament.