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Brazilians Go on Strike Against Sao Paulo Subway Privatization

  • The sign says,

    The sign says, "Closed station. Officials on partial strike," Oct. 3, 2023. | Photo: X/ @delucca

Published 3 October 2023

Governor De Freitas asserted that the strike is "illegal" and insisted on moving forward with his policy agenda.

On Tuesday, workers from the São Paulo metro and train systems initiated a strike against the regional government's privatization agenda, led by Governor Tarcisio De Freitas.


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The 24-hour strike has halted services on four metro lines and five train lines, which connect the metropolitan region with downtown São Paulo.

Workers from the Sao Paulo State Basic Sanitation Company (SABESP) also joined this protest action. De Freitas, a far-right ally of former President Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2023), aims to sell SABESP to private entrepreneurs.

At this moment, however, some metro and train lines have already been granted to the private sector. Sao Paulo authorities have attempted to alleviate the disruptions caused by the strike by reinforcing the operation of bus routes.

On Tuesday, De Freitas asserted that the strike is "illegal, abusive, and clearly political" and insisted on moving forward with his privatization agenda.

"We are doing what we said during the campaign we would do," he said, justifying his policies by claiming they will enhance public services and restore investment capacity.

The Sao Paulo governor, who served as Infrastructure Minister during the Bolsonaro administration, accused workers of "failing to provide" services to the citizens.

This marks the second strike by railway workers that De Freitas has faced since assuming office in January. The first strike occurred in March when workers demanded salary improvements and new hires.

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