From the TUC

Brazil’s unions rally against illegitimate Government’s privatisation & cuts agenda

26 Aug 2016, By

The Olympics is over and the Paralympics has yet to start. Brazil’s Senate is using the break to start formal impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff, and the illegitimate government of Michel Temer is preparing a huge programme of privatisations and cuts in education, health and other social programmes, reversing the fantastic anti-poverty programmes of Workers’ Party governments.

Fundamental workers’ rights are also under attack, and the country’s national trade union centres, CUT, FS, UGT /CNPL, CSB, CTB and NCST have jointly pledged to fight against plans to destroy the labour code.  The largest of them, CUT, is also leading a campaign against the impeachment of Dilma and attacks on former President Lula.

My opposite number in the CUT, Antonio de Lisboa Amancio Vale, recently wrote about the diabolical nature of the right-wing government, which he says is derived directly from the slave owners who ran Brazil in the 19th century:

“The interim administration is composed of seven ministers who are under investigation by the Operação Lava Jato (the Car Wash Operation), an investigation conducted by the federal police about corruption in the state-owned oil firm Petrobas. Also, for the first time since the military dictatorship, the administration has no woman, and also no one young, no one black, and no representatives of minorities, social movements or trade unions. So far, in just one month, three ministers of the coup government were forced to resign following serious charges of repeated instances of corruption. Michel Temer himself is accused by one of the informers in the Car Wash Operation of having negotiated 1.5 million Reals in illegal donations to a political ally who ran in municipal elections in 2012.”

The world’s top trade unionist, Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, has said:

“The impeachment process, based on flimsy charges concerning the Dilma government’s budget, will allow political interests which have failed at the ballot box to take control of the country and roll back over a decade of social progress which started with the election of President Lula 13 years ago.

“An offensive against workers’ rights is just around the corner, along with cuts to crucial social spending, handing over of key energy assets to corporations and privatization of other state assets. The concerted campaign against Lula himself, led by a judge working in cahoots with powerful media interests and the wealthy elite, is designed to stop any chance of him returning to office at the next Presidential election.”

But as I have pointed out before, this isn’t about corruption, it’s about reversing the gains of the Lula and Dilma governments. Antonio gives just one example of what the right-wing are up to:

“In the most serious attack on social rights since the enactment of the constitution in 1988, the illegitimate government wants investments in health and education fixed for a period of ten years, corrected only for inflation in the previous year. If this rule had been in place since 2006, the federal health budget would now be 30% lower than it is and education would have suffered a brutal cut of around 70%. It is worth remembering that this rule proposed by the interim government would also focus on the budgets of state governments and municipal governments. It would be literally the destruction of our public health and education systems.”

The TUC is backing trade unions in Brazil in their struggle for justice and against the right-wing, slaver regime that has no popular mandate for its attacks on the poor, on women, and on working people.