(en) General strike in Santos, Brazil (pt)

Andrew Flood (ANFLOOD@macollamh.ucd.ie)
Thu, 17 Apr 1997 14:24:26 +0100 (BST)

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[Background: There is a strike in the port of Santo, Brazil. The workers occupied two ships and on the police stormed the ships and arrested the workers]


The 24 workers who were aboard the two ships "Vancouver" and "Marcos Dias" are currently being questioned at the Santos Federal Police delegation. The questioning insists in knowing the resaons for the "invasion of the ships". The ships were assaulted by 60 federal agents at 4 am this morning, April 15, by sea and land.

At the gate of Cosipa, the situation is extremely tense. Nearly 1000 workers are there in protest. There are 500 military police in the terminal, armed and with dogs. So far there have been no reports of police violence.

The two ships were started to be handled at 9 am with non unionised labour, but operations have been stopped again. The Port of Santos is completely paralysed by a protest general strike.


At 13 pm today, April 15, the situation was very tense at the gates of the steel company, Cosipa. The TV was present. The president of the Sole Workers Union cenfederation (CUT), Vicente Paulo da Silva spoke to the demonstrators. There were not clashes with the police, but barricades were erected with burning tyres.

During the morning only three ships were handled in the harbour during the morning.The strike could be national from the end of the afternoon.


The Santos Port is completely paralysed by a protest strike which started today, April 15, after the assault by the police of the ships "Marcos Dias" and "Vancouver" at the berth of the the Sao Paulo Steel Company (Cosipa). These ships had been occupied by the workers, in defence of their jobs, since April 2. The strike could spread this afternoon to all other Brazilian ports. The Federacoes Nacionais dos Estivadores (FNE) and Federacaos Nacionais odos Conferentes e Consertadores (Fenccovib) unions are currently in a meeting with the National Confederation of Transport Workers (Contmaf), to decide holding a general strike in all Brazilian ports.

The workers arrested in the morning have already been questioned by the Federal Police and released. They are all well and none of them reported police violence. Some of them, who occupied the ships for 12 days, went back to Cosipa's gates to address the demonstrators, who received them with cheers and a loud ovation. The struggle, they declared, does not end with the end of the occupation of the ships.

Cosipa tried to handle the ships in its berth with its own non unionised labour but failed. The company refuses to make any comments, but inside informations indicate that the lack of skills of the youth hired to substitute unionised labour could lead to problems and accidents. The work in the berth started at 8.30 am but had to be stopped at 10 am.



In an interview to Radio CBN, a short while ago, the Santos Federal Police chief, Ariovaldo Peixoto dos Anjos, declared that already on Sunday April 13, the way to assault the two ships, timetables and other operational details had been arranged with other military forces. In that same day Cosipa had tried to deceive the workers into think that they wanted to reopen negotiations, which, as we now know, was just a manouvre.

"On Sunday we arranged everything with the military police and the Navy, in order to guarantee land and sea support for the assoult to the ships. Without that help and coordination the assault would have been impossible" he said.

Translated by LabourNet http://www.labournet.org.uk

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