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In a symbolic vote, thousands of demonstrators who met in the Valley of Anhangabaú, Sao Paulo, this May 1st, approved the call made by unions for a General Strike against pension reform , on June 14.

By: CSP-Conlutas

The idea from now on is to start organizing the general strike with the bases of the most diverse unions so that on June 14, all places of work, study, commerce, banks and circulation of merchandise will be paralyzed.

Historic unity

The announcement of a general strike was the high point of the historic event in São Paulo, convened by the ten trade union confederations this May 1. It was the first time that the entities held a joint event on International Worker’s Day.

The demonstration was attended by workers of different government unions , who arrived in caravans from 9 in the morning . Metalworkers, drivers, postal workers, bankers, oil workers, chemists, professors, public employees, retirees, landless and homeless workers were some of the sectors present.

The repudiation and denunciation of the pension Reform and attacks of the Bolsonaro government marked the interventions of union, movements and political party leaders present.

“Brazil will stop in order to defend the right to retirement . The only way to stop this reform is to face it in the streets. It’s a general strike, “said CTU national president , Vagner Freitas.

According to Miguel Torres, president of Força Sindical, May 1st this year represents a historical framework. “We are defending the country and the general strike will be the continuation of this struggle,” he said.

Luiz Carlos Prates, Mancha, spoke on behalf of CSP-Conlutas and began by recalling that May 1 is a day of struggle of the working class, and highlighted mobilizations such as the general strike held April 30 by the Argentine workers, the yellow vests struggle in France, Ford metalworkers and Sao Paulo rail workers mobilizations who fight for jobs and rights.
“The Bolsonaro government says that Brazil needs the pension reform . That is the biggest fake news !. The country needs the government to collect from debtors of the INSS [National Institute of Social Security], stop paying the public debt and giving money to the bankers. They want to end retirement, our children’s future , to deliver money to the banks. Therefore, we affirm, there is no negotiation with this reform. We need to expand our mobilization and defeat that reform in its entirety, “he said.

According to Mancha, today was an important step for the construction of the general strike, but the task is greater from now on. He stressed that there can be no setback. “It is necessary to take the construction of the general strike to the bases, to the unions and to the social movements, to organize assemblies, collect signatures against the reform, to hold in our hands the construction of the June 14 stoppage so that there are no setbacks . We are going to repeat the strike of April 28 (2017) that stopped Temer’s reform , “he said.

Women, who are one of the sectors most affected by Bolsonaro’s reform , had strong presence on the demonstration.

Together with women from other unions on stage , Marcela Azevedo, of the Women in Struggle Movement (affiliated with CSP-Conlutas) made an intervention at the beginning of the act.

“We are paying with our lives the profit of the powerful. The number of femicides, rapes and domestic violence has increased throughout the country. We are the majority among the unemployed. It is in this context that Bolsonaro wants to impose the retirement reform , which is one more brutal attack than in all aspects will affect working women the most , “She said.

“We can stop that reform. It’s three years of international women’s strikes on March 8 and it’s that force women bring to this May 1 and to build the general strike,” She said.
Representatives of the other centrals also spoke: CGTB, CSB, CTB, Nova Central, Intersindical (Working Class), Intersindical (Instrument of Struggle and Organization), and UGT, in addition to the Frente Brasil Popular and Frente Pueblo Sin Miedo. PSTU, PSOL, PT, PCdoB, were some of the parties that also made interventions during the event.
The call for the general strike for June 14 was repeated in events held in other States and in several cities of the country.

Union centrals will meet on May 6 to advance in the organization of the calendar of struggle against pension reform, which includes before June 14 , an Education workers’ strike on May 15, which will be incorporated as a national day of struggle for all workers, towards the general strike.

Article published on www.pstu.org.br, May 1, 2019.
Translation: Blas