|Written by PSTU – Brasil|
|Monday, 04 June 2012 17:31|
Mr. Alckmin government’s attitude of trying to blame the workers for the Subway strike and put them against the population, widely disseminated and endorsed by the media, is typical of a bourgeois government that controls mass media.
The government tries to hide its inability to negotiate with the workers and also tries to hide the fact that after 20 years governing São Paulo, the PSDB failed to resolve the problems of transport and traffic in the city.
The São Paulo subway system is clearly overloaded, the fare is one of the most expensive in the world, the lines are being privatized (which will increase accidents) and the investments are insufficient. As a result the population is forced to endure overcrowded trains and buses and constant traffic congestions. The strike also served to denounce the transportation crisis in the city.
A further demonstration of victory
There is a debate over who had been victorious in this confrontation between the State Government and the subway and railway workers in São Paulo. The agreement between the São Paulo Metropolitan Company and the Union sets a wage increase of 6.17%; adjustment in the meal voucher that goes from R$ 19.50 to R$ 23; increases the grocery voucher from R$ 150 to R$ 218 as well as the job hazardous duty premium payment of 15% of the salary (it was 10%).
However, there is an emblematic element. It is that the São Paulo Metropolitan Company and the state government were obliged to pay all the hours that the workers were on strike. If responsibility for the strike was of workers why is Alckmin’s government being forced to pay the downtime? Alckmin’s government pays because he has been defeated and, in order to end the strike, he had to make this one more concession.
PSDB Government shot at even those who complained
The strike of subway workers and CPTM (Paulista Company of Metropolitan Trains) in São Paulo caused a chaos in the morning of May 23. Angry passengers protested in front of subway stations against the PSDB government’s attitude. The shouts of protesters could be heard on TV, “the people are on the street, Geraldo it is your fault.” This led to clashes between protesters and the police officers that used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the demonstrators.
The most relevant example of criminalization of the society most exploited sectors is in the prison of the waitress Rachel Cristina da Silva Santos for “disrespect to authority.” Rachel just called a policeman a “coward”. There was also the arbitrary detention of the car washer Francisco Wenderson Sousa. To the Press, Rachel said: “I just called that cop a coward because he was riding a motorbike and almost hit me in the confusion. Then he stopped and arrested me. I just wanted to go to work. I’m not a protester at all. I was treated worse than an animal is”.
Now keep in mind the following situation: people arrive at the subway in the morning, that is on strike, and then they go out to the streets to protest against the state government, which neither negotiate with the strikers nor provide an alternative transportation system. And hence, by merely complaining about this, they are violently attacked by the police with tear gas and rubber bullets.
In the São Paulo of Mr. Alckmin, Mr. Serra (PSDB’s president) and Kassab (São Paulo city mayor), if you complain, you will be hit by rubber bullet shots. It is miserable the situation of São Paulo population.
Demanding 100% of trains’ circulation goes against the right to strike
The Judicial Power, supported by the state government and all major media, through the Regional Labor Court, say they support the right to strike. However, they ordered that 100% of the Metro and CPTM trains should circulate during peak hours and 85% in the remaining time. They also threatened the workers and their union with a fine of 100,000 Reais (US$ 50,000) a day if this decision were not fulfilled.
How is it possible to carry out a strike and work with 100% of capacity? The state government itself does not guarantee 100% of movement in normal days. This is an anti-union action performed by the judiciary against the right to strike. Workers and trade union movement must denounce this decision within the same scope of the criminalization of social movements and of the attacks that have been happening recently against the Unions.
Alckmin, Serra and Kassab attack PSTU
In desperate eagerness to attack striking workers, Governor Geraldo Alckmin called the strikers “a sectarian and radical group with electoral interests” and said the recent problems in the transport system were caused by sabotage. For Mr. Alckmin, the strike in the lines of the Metro and CPTM was a political action aimed at harming the government in an electoral year. He also said: “The worst was that they completely failed to comply with the determination to maintain the operation at 100% capacity at peak times.”
The very strong candidate José Serra, in the same path stated that the Metro and CPTM suffered from sabotage and that the strike was politically and electoral motivated. Mr. Kassab, their servant, sympathized with the complaints made by Mr. Alckmin and Mr. Serra about the Union that organized the movement. Beyond ridiculous manifestations, such as the Soninha Francine (PPS) one, which criticized the protest that closed routes near the station Corinthians-Itaquera subway and the action of the Police saying: “Everything, all the methods are wrong.”
The truth is that the truculent governor of São Paulo wants to attack the PSTU, which is being at the head of major clashes with his government in the state. PSTU militants clashed with government repression at USP, in Pinheirinho (São José dos Campos) and now in São Paulo subway. Our organization is at the forefront of the recent mobilizations in defense of workers’ interests and therefore being forced to cope with the constant repression of the PSDB governor.
To justify his abuses, the governor has the nerve to say that the series of problems that the CPTM and the subway lines have suffered in recent months, as the collision between two trains of Line 3-Red, have been caused by sabotaging , implying that workers’ organizations were behind it, trying again to criminalize the social movements.
The truth is that São Paulo state population has been raising up against the PSDB government abuses and this is shown in the hundreds of demonstrations. And if the governor thinks he will intimidate PSTU with his accusations, he is completely wrong, because we will be present at all events that promote the workers’ interests.
In the specific case of the subway strike, the determination, the strength and unity of the category have put the arrogant PSDB government on his knees, in 15 hours, forcing him to partially grant the demands and swallow his words of intransigence and arrogance. For an authoritarian government this is a supreme insult. Even more if this movement is headed by the activists and leaders of PSTU.
Translation: Wilma Correa