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Brazilian oil workers temporarily suspend national strike

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4 June, 2018IndustriALL Brazilian affiliate FUP temporarily suspended their 72-hour national strike when the court threatened the union with an extortionate fine of 2 million reais (US$540,000) per day, a clear violation of trade union rights.

The Superior Labor Court (TST) declared the strike illegal because of its "abusive" nature and imposed sanctions of two million reais per day (USD$ 540,000) for the unions that backed the strike called by the Federation of Petroleum Workers of Brazil (FUP).

“The decision of the TST seeks to criminalize and marginalize social and trade union movements. The FUP calls on its affiliated unions to suspend the strike, in a momentary and necessary step back for constructing an indefinite strike. This serious violation of trade union rights must be widely denounced,“ says the FUP.

The hike in the price of oil derivatives is directly related to the new policy implemented by the illegitimate government of Michel Temer and the CEO of Petrobras Pedro Parente, following the coup d'état against Dilma Rousseff.

Prices are influenced by fluctuations of the dollar and the value of a barrel of oil on international markets, and increases strengthen the position of private companies and multinationals operating in the sector.

At the same time, these same factors have a negative affect on Brazil's industrial development. It is for this reason that the workers are seeking to prevent the privatisation of the state-owned company in order to safeguard jobs, resume production in the refineries and put and end to imports of oil derivatives.

The strike and demonstrations are taking place in an atmosphere of protest, given that for more than one week independent truckers in Brazil have been striking against rising diesel prices. The Government, for its part, has been speaking of a "lockout" by the transport companies.

All this has led to shortages in fuel and basic products, flights have been cancelled, factory production has been halted due to a lack of supplies, and animals have died as a result of shortages in animal feed. The country is going through an unprecedented crisis. The solution is a return to democracy and the establishment of a legitimate government.

"IndustriALL expresses its solidarity with the Brazilian people and the FUP, supports the demands of the tanker drivers, and demands that Petrobras uses its own refineries and does not sell them off to foreign investors. If the refineries are sold, the Brazilian people will have to pay much more for petrol, diesel and cooking gas. Changes in the policy of fuel prices barely serves the interests of international financial capital, absurdly increases profits and harms the Brazilian people", concludes Valter Sanches, general secretary of IndustriALL.