Brazil: The scandalous actions of the Alckmin government. Stop the firing of striking subway workers!

June 07, 2014

The scandalous actions of the Alckmin government
Stop the firing of striking subway workers!

Police arrested 13 subway workers, who are being held at Ana Rosa Station (36 DP street Tutoia, Vila Mariana), and repressed workers and youth who were demonstrating in defense of the metro workers at the station. Jurandir Fernandes, Transportation Secretary for Sao Paulo, officially declared that 42 subway workers were fired for just cause, for a total of 60 workers fired. He stated in the afternoon there would be a “new round†of dismissals. The charges alleged were “the aggressive use of the PA systems in the stations to promote the strike, and inciting the population to jump the turnstiles.†He even said such nonsense as “subway workers no longer have the right to strike.†The government’s campaign to demonize the SP subway workers’ strike (including by criminalizing newscasts from the union, and seeking public prosecutor investigation), appears as the latest anti-worker campaign from Governor Geraldo Alckmin and the media. This is the fifth day of the strike.

The state is willing to disregard its own laws when it needs to attack the workers. Repeated police crackdowns at the Ana Rosa station, arresting strikers who sought to ensure their right to strike with pickets (against the efforts of strikebreakers), and firing workers during the struggle, is taking away the workers’ legitimate right to strike as guaranteed by the constitution, regardless of the judicial decision of the TRT. The TRT’s decision is considered illegal by legal experts such as Jorge Luiz Souto Maior, an USP Law professor. It is illegal and arbitrary to fire striking workers. Law 7.783/89, Art. 6, § 2, which regulates the right to strike, states that “it is forbidden for companies to adopt any means of restricting employees from reporting to work or thwarting their freedom of movement.†This threat to fire more workers in addition to those already fired, as well as the anti-union actions of the Ministerio Publico, are fraudulent state measures to curb the strike movement.

It is essential for us to build an even broader campaign to support the subway workers against the state repression and Secretary Jurandir Fernandes‘s illegal firings. These struggles are for quality public transport, to be taken out of the hands of the big monopolies and nationalized, and even propose to eliminate the turnstiles so the population has free transportation. No punishment for the strikers who exercise their legitimate right to strike!