With World Cup looming, Sao Paulo metro workers go on strike


Public transportation users invade the subway tracks in the Corinthians Itaquera station, near the Sao Paulo’s World Cup soccer stadium on June 5. Sao Paulo Metro workers went on strike today demanding a pay raise. (Victor Moriyama/Getty Images)

Sao Paulo is the largest city in Brazil. It’s also where the 2014 World Cup will kick off with its opening match. If you’re planning to go, though, you better bring a bike because subway and overland train operators went on strike today for higher wages. The Associated Press reports:

“The strike stranded many of the 3.5 million people who use Sao Paulo’s public transport systems on an average weekday.

Enraged passengers kicked in large doors at some stations when they arrived to find them closed for their morning commute.

The station nearest the Itaquerao stadium that will host the Cup’s opening match on June 12 was damaged by irate commuters who kicked down the metal barriers at two entryways.”

Well, that’s not good. The workers went on strike a day after a judge ordered train operators to work at full capacity during peak times and at 70 percent capacity at off-peak hours, as well as imposed a fine of $44,000 per day on the union if it decided to ignore the ruling, the AP reports.

The strikes led to disruptive amounts of congestion on the city’s roadways, as people scrambled to find alternative transportation. Silvia Rodrigues da Silva, who manages a small coffee shop in central Sao Paulo, told the AP:

“The strikes … are getting on my nerves. The subway station nearest my house was closed so I had wait for more than an hour to get into an overcrowded bus to come to work.”

The latest Sao Paulo metro and train strikes add to the list of problems plaguing the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Concerns have also been raised over alleged corruption and money mishandling, behind-schedule construction at several of the World Cup stadiums and the Brazilian population’s pessimism over their government’s handling of the World Cup.

More on the World Cup:

Lights will stay on in Brazil, fingers crossed

Google Maps street view lets you see the World Cup stadiums

Jurgen Klinsmann knocks Kobe Bryant to explain why he left Landon Donovan off the team

Ronaldo is nursing thigh and knee injuries

From qualification rounds to the final: How the World Cup works

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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