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Subway Strike Affects 3 Million in São Paulo, One Week Ahead of World Cup

06/06/2014 - 08h54

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FROM SÃO PAULO

São Paulo residents had a morning of chaos on Thursday (5) due to the subway strike, one week ahead of the World Cup event start.

Passengers found closed stations and jostled to try boarding into crowded buses on their way to work. There were lines for taxis, motorcycle taxis, and illegal vans and cars took advantage of the situation to offer services.

Traffic was worsen by CET (traffic) agents strike and set a record for the year, in the morning.

Friday (6) should not be that different: subway workers decided to keep the strike. Until now, at the end of this edition, there was no definition about CET strike.

Subway workers did not comply with court order requiring full operation during peak hours. About 3 million people were directly affected by the strike. Until 7am, the three major subway lines (1-blue, 2-green and red-3) were closed.

Later, supervisors were called by the company's director to take control of trains, and the service was partially working - only some of the stations opened.

The 4-Yellow line (private) was not affected by the strike. The 5-Lilac had some of its operations delayed at first, but then worked normally.

"It is a humiliation here. I saw yesterday on the internet that the Subway would be working at peak times, then one comes here and finds a mess," said the operating assistant Tamires Barbosa, 20, second in the line to get a taxi near Jabaquara station.

In Corinthians-Itaquera station, passengers who wanted to enter the CPTM, the train network, became angry and broke gates - access to the train is made through the subway entrance, which was closed.

DISORDER

Governor Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB) classified the strike as part of a political movement and accused people in charge of the strike of bringing "chaos, disorder, without any reason for it."

Subway workers on Thursday reduced their increase request from 16.5% to 12.2%. The Subway system said there was no financial possibility for increasing more than 8.7%.

The company's president, Luiz Antonio Carvalho Pacheco, said the change in benefits will result in increases from 10.6% to 13.3%.

Translated by SIMONE PALMA

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