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Brazilian working-class holds National Day of Struggle

4 July, 2013The trade union centres, including the CUT and Força Sindical, which have IndustriALL affiliates as member unions, believe the organised participation of the working class to be an essential component of the wave of social protest sweeping across Brazil. They are organising rallies, stoppages and strikes to take place on a National Day of Struggle on 11 July.

The National Day of Struggle, organised jointly with other social movements, is calling for a positive outcome to the current situation. The trade union movement has joined the protests attended by millions of people throughout the country who have been calling for a reduction in public transport fares and improvements in public transport, health, education and expressing their dissatisfaction with the way in which political institutions are operating. There have already been concrete results because the authorities reduced public transport fares in most cities and towns. However, there is still a deadlock over the question of political reform. Congress is debating the issue but all sectors of society must be involved in this debate.

The National Day of Struggle will call for the withdrawal of Bill 4330 on outsourcing, which is an attack on Brazilian workers’ rights and makes work even more precarious in Brazil. This bill must be withdrawn immediately from the agenda of the National Congress.

The Constitution and Justice Commission of Congress is due to vote on the Bill on 9 July. The trade unions have organised a day of strikes in the main sectors of the economy on 4 July as a warning to Congress to withdraw the Bill before the demonstrations, stoppages and strikes to be held on 11 July.

The National Day of Struggle will call on the authorities not to make cuts in expenditure on social services to compensate for the reductions in public transport fares. Other demands include: 10% of the national budget for public health; 10% of GDP for education; "public funds are only for the public sector"; an end to the pensions factor; 40 hour working week without a reduction in pay; land reform and suspension of the tendering process in the oil industry.

The unions will also call for the democratisation of the media and for a plebiscite to decide on political reform.

The CUT believes that resources are available to invest in improving public services and criticises the way in which billions of public money have been given to employers in the form of exonerations, exemptions and subsidies without the employers providing anything in return. Billions more are used to swell the primary surplus to pay the national debt.

The CUT will prioritise strikes in various sectors of the economy. The strikers will include their own specific demands as well as those formulated by the wider movement.

Miguel Torres, president of the CNTM, the metalworkers’ confederation affiliated to Força Sindical, which is affiliated to IndustriALL, said: “We are at an important moment in the life of our country, with important changes in the economy, in the use of public resources and the definition of social and political priorities”. He added: “the workers are protagonists in this movement, they are the people who are really building the nation and have always been ready to go out onto the streets to protest and demand their rights, and to participate in the national political arena in order to fight for  improvements to living conditions”.