Brazilian truck drivers reject union-government attempt to shut down strike
Eric London and Miguel Andrade
30 May 2018
On Tuesday, hundreds of thousands of Brazilian truck drivers rejected an attempt by the trade unions and the Brazilian government of President Michael Temer to end the national strike that has paralyzed the country.
Temer sought to appease strikers Monday by offering tax cuts and the lowering and temporary freezing of the cost of diesel fuel, the central grievance of the strike. But as the sun rose across Brazil yesterday, it became clear a large number of the truckers had defied the move. Strikers at many of the more than 500 blockades set up throughout the country turned away scab convoys flanked by detachments of soldiers wielding assault rifles.
The strike, now entering its tenth day, is a powerful escalation of the resurgence of the class struggle worldwide, shuttering production across key industries in the western hemisphere’s second largest and the world’s eighth largest economy.
The government has sought to criminalize the continuation of the strike by claiming that it is the work of outside “infiltrators” seeking the downfall of Temer, the most unpopular president in Brazil’s history.
In an attempt to prevent the expansion of the truckers’ action into a wider mobilization of the Brazilian working class, the government’s labor court issued a ruling Tuesday declaring a nationwide strike set for today by oil workers illegal. The union, the United Federation of Oil Workers (FUP), had called the strike for 72 hours. The court ruled that the motivations for the strike were political rather than of a trade union character. The workers are demanding a lowering of fuel costs, the maintenance of jobs and the resignation of the CEO of…