Strike hits Brazilian diplomatic missions in US, Europe
Updated: 2014-05-14 09:23
BRASILIA - Local employees of Brazilian consulates in 17 US and European cities began a two-day strike Tuesday, affecting visa services in those areas just weeks before the World Cup, said a source from an affiliate of the Foreign Ministry of Brazil.
The Association of Local Employees Abroad (Aflex) of the ministry said the strike was meant to demand higher wages.
The local employees of the Brazilian diplomatic missions are hoping to increase wages which have remained the same for more than three years, and they also demand a career plan and union rights, said the association.
The strike "will notably affect the processing of visas, especially for foreigners who plan to travel to Brazil for the World Cup," the association said.
According to the association, consular activities have been suspended in such US cities as New York, Los Angeles, Hartford, San Francisco, Houston and Atlanta, and in the Canadian cities of Montreal and Toronto.
Employees at nine European consulates joined the strike, including Paris, London, Frankfurt, Geneva, Rome and Milan.
The association is threatening to suspend services indefinitely if the demands are not met, meaning getting a visa to attend the World Cup could turn into a complicated and extended procedure.
Brazil's Foreign Ministry said local employees at its representative offices abroad are subject to local laws and job market conditions, so there is no way to negotiate global salaries and working conditions with the Aflex.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil will be held from June 12 to July 13. Bus drivers in Rio de Janeiro, one of 12 Brazilian cities hosting the upcoming 2014 Brazil World Cup, on Tuesday also started a 48-hour strike, demanding higher pay. The strike stranded local commuters.