Metro workers in San Paulo, Brazil will remain on strike for an indefinite period of time, so the country’s former president advised World Cup spectators to get there ”on foot, barefoot, by bike, by donkey.”
The strike has been ruled illegal by the court, but it is on the fifth day and union leaders are threatening to shut down the subway line that goes to the stadium, according to the Daily Mail. The first game of the tournament starts on Thursday.
The strike has been ruled illegal because the unions broke the rule that at least 70 percent of trains had to be running during the day and 100 percent during rush hours. The court ordered the unions to pay fines of 100,000 reais (about $42,000) per day for the first four days and 500,000 reais (about $220,000) per day after today.
The order to pay fines angered the union leaders further, leading them to try and shut down the subway lines to the stadium. They are demanding a pay increase of 12 percent, but the Sao Paulo subway company won’t comply because fares haven’t gone up in two years. The company offered an increase of 8.7 percent, but the strikers haven’t budged from their demands.
“The government is declaring a war against its workers,” said Alex Fernandes, the union’s general secretary. “They sit down to talk to us or there won’t be subway service during the World Cup.”
The city has been able to provide limited subway service, but the main stations are closed and traffic has increased tremendously.
“We never had problems walking,” Brazil’s former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said, suggesting that spectators go to games “on foot, barefoot, by bike, by donkey.”
The distance from the city center to the stadium Arena Corinthians is 12 miles, so spectators should wear some good walking shoes or find a donkey.
Altino Prazeres, the president of the metro workers’ union, said, “It is not our intention to continue the strike into the World Cup. Our intention is to solve the problem. But that should be the government’s aim too.”