Bus drivers in Sao Paulo have gone on strike, paralysing half of the bus terminals in Brazil’s business hub, and in some cases abandoning their vehicles in the middle of the street.
The strike, which began on Tuesday, is the latest to hit Brazil as it gears up to host the football World Cup from June 12 to July 13 – and hold presidential and congressional elections in October.
Local transport officials said 230,000 passengers had been affected by early afternoon, a figure they said was likely to increase in the evening rush hour.
Fifteen of the city’s 28 bus terminals were closed, they said.
The striking drivers are rebelling against their union, which agreed to a 10-percent pay increase in negotiations with management, the AFP news agency reported, citing Folha de Sao Paulo, a Brazilian newspaper.
“This was news to me, these holdouts who don’t accept the terms of the deal,” said a surprised mayor Fernando Haddad.
About 300 striking bus drivers and fare collectors marched to the mayor’s office to demand a meeting with Haddad. Other drivers stopped their buses in the middle of the street and asked their passengers to get off, said newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo.
Sao Paulo, a city of 11 million people, will host the opening match of the World Cup in 23 days. Its 15,000 buses are a key part of its transit system.