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News > Latin America

Brazil Bank Workers Continue Nation's Longest Strike in Decades

  • A worker cleans the street in front of posters reading

    A worker cleans the street in front of posters reading "We are on strike" at the entrance of a bank during a bank workers' nationwide strike in Sao Paulo. | Photo: Reuters

Published 6 October 2016

It's been 32 days since bankers have refused to go to work in major cities across Brazil.

Brazilian bank workers continued what has become the longest strike in the country in 12 years on Thursday, lasting over a month amid the nation's harshest recession in eight decades.

60,000 Brazil Bank Workers Strike Against Temer's Labor Reforms

On Tuesday, the Banking Union of Sao Paulo, the country's biggest banking industry union, said in a statement that almost 10 rounds of negotiations have not resulted in an agreement with the government and new rounds of talks have yet to be set.

The stike's main demand is a 14.8 percent salary adjustment for bank workers, which according to the workers is only a 5 percent hike in real terms due to Brazil's 9.57 percent annual inflation rate. They are also demanding an annual bonus equivalent to three months wages, increased food and child care, and other benefits.

On September 28, the National Banking Federation proposed an annual wage increase of 6.5 percent, which would result in an inflation-adjusted loss of 1.9 percent to banking staff.

The National Confederation of Credit Company Workers, known as Contec, said in a statement Tuesday that the indefinite general strike is the “final weapon” available to workers to pressure authorities. They announced they will continue to strike until their demands are met.

Internal Dissent Rocks the World Bank Again

Bank workers last went on strike for 20 days nearly a year ago, beginning on Oct. 6, 2015. The country experienced its longest strike in 2004, when bank employees protested for 30 days.

Branch services have been partially disrupted, according to the union, but not online banking and ATMs. The National Confederation of Financial Workers reported in September that in total 13,159 branches—up to 55 percent of the country’s offices—are not operating. 

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