More than 50,000 demonstrators marched down the Esplanade of the Ministries in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, on Wednesday 6 March in support of working class demands for greater public investment in infrastructure and social services, a stronger internal market, the redistribution of income and against neoliberal-inspired attacks on labour rights.
With the participation of samba schools and groups of Bahian dancers, the seventh march of the trade union centrals and social movements for Citizenship, Development and Recognition of the Value of Work paid homage to the recently deceased Venezuelan President, Hugo Chávez. Workers also attended the vigil in front of the Venezuelan embassy in honour of President Chavez, who the demonstrators called "the biggest defender of labour causes".
The march took more than 3 hours to reach the National Congress and was organized by unions affiliated to the Central Única de los Trabajadores (CUT), Força Sindical, the Central de los Trabajadores y Trabajadoras de Brasil (CTB), the Unión General de los Trabajadores (UGT), the Nueva Central Sindical de Trabajadores (NCST) and the Central General de los Trabajadores de Brasil (CGTB).
Most IndustriALL Global Union affiliates in the metalworking, textiles and shoes, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, oil, paper and plastics sectors are affiliated to either Força Sindical or CUT. Both centrals value the unity of the trade union movement and this was the driving force behind the march, which united 50,000 demonstrators, including workers, students, men and women, in brief, the Brazilian people.
The unions are calling for:
- A 40 hour week without a reduction in pay
- An end to cuts in the value of pensions
- Equal opportunities for men and women
- Support for pensioners
- 10% of GDP for education
- 10% of the national budget for health
- Changes in income tax rates
- Ratification of ILO Convention 158
- Regulation of ILO Convention 151
- More public investment