Rio Police win 38% wage Increase and say not enough

Police officers went on strike just before Carnival celebrations and ended it just as quickly findly little support for their timing. that  No city annually produces a greater series of massive events attended by hundreds of thousands and these events are all heavily policed.  The world watched as Rio authorities said they were ready to call in  14,000 army soldiers

The decision came just two days after a similar strike ended in the northeastern state of Bahia, which saw the homicide rate double in its capital, Salvador, during the 12 day stoppage [more]

The strike, however, never affected security in the city, the number of officers who adhered to it appeared relatively small and authorities never had to call on army soldiers to patrol streets, as was feared. The government made no new concessions to officers to end the strike. However they had made a very generous offer which remains just prior to the strick.

“The situation is normal “  police spokesman Frederico Caldas told the Globo TV network  and that “we will not accept any sort of action against discipline.”

The officers decided during a midnight rally to start the work stoppage, not content with legislative approval of a 39 percent raise to be staggered over this year and the next, along with a promise of more in 2014.

“We didn’t want to strike,” said Paulo Nascimento, a search and rescue firefighter. “We’re putting this on Governor Sergio Cabral’s conscience.”

Some longtime officers were proud of bringing together Rio’s security forces in a joint strike for the first time.

Fernando Bandeira, president Sinpol, of one of the unions representing police, said officers and firefighters together decided to end the strike because “we don’t want to harm our Rio, especially during Carnival.”

He warned, however, that officers would take up their grievances once the party is over.

“What we were given were crumbs, and not even close to what we asked for,” he said. “After Carnival we’re going to talk again to renew our demands. The movement is alive

Current base pay for police starts at $964 in Rio state, which despite being Brazil’s second-wealthiest state has long paid its officers far less than the salaries earned by their colleagues in many parts of the country.

Rio state police suffer high fatality rates as they battle powerful drug gangs and street crime. In 2010, 19 police officers were killed on the job, and 31 were killed in 2009, the latest police data show.

Rio Governor Sergio Cabral had urged officers to stay on the job, appealing to their sense of duty and responsibility.

“You cannot have a strike in essential services like public safety,” Cabral said at a news conference. “Rio de Janeiro doesn’t deserve this.”

Dissatisfaction among officers and firefighters in Rio has been brewing for months, with protest marches growing. Last month, 20,000 officers marched along Copacabana beach demanding a wage increase, fewer hours on the job and a bonus for difficult working conditions.

Rio’s police are among the lowest paid in Brazil, and as Brazil’s economy has boomed in recent years, and so has the cost of living. Rio de Janeiro

As part of the effort to improve morale and fight the corrupting power of drug and extortion money, public security chief Beltrame has pushed for improving salaries and hiring new officers, the public security department said in a statement.

Without giving details of how many new officers were hired, the department said personnel expenses with the military police went from $530 million in 2006 to $1.3 billion budgeted for 2012.

While the current base pay for police starts at $964 per month in Rio state, it can go to $1,169 for a starting officer willing to participate in available training courses, the department said.

It’s not just the police who are straining at the reins: construction workers on the remodeling of Rio’s Maracanã stadium organized a strike over work conditions last year. In the state of Rio, workers are currently in conflict in Itaguaí, where Petrobras is building a huge petrochemicals complex, Comperj.

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