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4 May 2017

General Strike in Brazil

This is what many union leaders of civil and heavy construction – and other BWI sectors in this country – expressed after receiving the intense manifestation of international solidarity from BWI affiliated organizations worldwide, particularly from Latin America and the Caribbean.

There were numerous letters of support, individual and collective photos illustrating posters "Support to the General Strike in Brazil" in English, French, Spanish, Arabic and other languages. Men and women trade unionists, young people, immigrants, or simply workers of companies in the BWI sectors decided to send messages of support that shocked many Brazilian trade union leaders and workers, who suddenly realized: "We are not alone."

Ambassadors and high-level diplomatic representatives from Brazil have received BWI affiliates in Argentina (for UOCRA and FOCRA), Colombia (SINTRAGYPLAC), Costa Rica (UNATROPYT, AIC-MOPT, SINTRACOIN), Jamaica (BITU), Nicaragua (SNSCAASC), Panama (SUNTRACS and SITCEDPA), Peru (FETRACEPPE and the Union of Workers of the Andean Union of Cement S.A.A. Pedreras de Atocongo) and Uruguay (SUNCA).

In Panama, hundreds of workers from SUNTRACS marched through the main city streets of Panama before delivering a support letter to the Brazilian Embassy. This union also held an act of solidarity to striking workers in Brazil.

The unions who integrate the Cement Multinational Enterprises Networks (as well as LafargeHolcim and InterCement), Forest and Wood, Etex and Faber-Castell Networks sent letters of support and solidarity to the Brazilian unions that are members of the same Network: from Chile (Cementos Bio-Bio, FETRACEM), Colombia (SINTRAHOLCIM, SINTRAINDUMACOIN, FETRAMECOL, SINTRA-SKINKO COLOMBIT, ACTEG and SUTIMAC); Cuba (SNTC), Panama (SUNTRACS and SITCEDPA) and Peru (SINTRA F-C, FETRACEPPE, SITRAFAPESA, SINTRACESANLO, FETRASUR and FENATIMAP).

In addition, other unions also sent photos of support to the strike: SINTRAMATER, SINTRACONSTRUVIAS, SINTRAKNAUF and SIBTRAPULCAR, from Colombia, as well as FENATCO and APCBA from Haiti, FENTICOMMC from the Dominican Republic. Trade unions from other regions of the world also expressed solidarity and support to Brazilians: Arab Countries, Ukraine, Cambodia, Malaysia, Croatia and Serbia.

BWI President Per-Olof Sjöo (GS, Sweden), General Secretary Ambet Yuson and members of BWI Audit Committee (Michael von Felten, UNIA from Switzerland, Steinar Karlsen, Fellesforbundet, Norway; Bert van der Spek of CNV-HB, Holland, and Patrick Fonjallaz from BWI Geneva), also sent photos in support of the General Strike in Brazil.

All this support came in real time to all BWI affiliates in Brazil, before, during and after the successful general strike that paralyzed about 40 million workers throughout the country, despite police repression in many cities, counter-information of the big press and the clear opposition of an illegitimate Government, which reach the power by dubious means and which implements an agenda of neoliberal reforms without consultation or negotiation with the most disadvantaged population: workers, retirees and poor population.