Two weeks after a stoppage that lasted about 15 hours, bus drivers and collectors in the capital of São Paulo will meet again this Tuesday (28) and may start a new strike, still without a confirmed date. The category meeting is scheduled for 2:00 pm, on first call, and 4:00 pm, on second call.
The workers have been on a salary campaign for about two months. The stoppage took place on June 14th and ended after signing an agreement between the union that represents the category, Sindmotoristas, and the companies. The agreement guaranteed the main claim of professionals, readjustment of 12.47% retroactive to the base date (May 1st), and set a period of five working days for companies and public authorities to present a proposal for the other items claimed by the category.
“With the readjustment guaranteed, we will discuss other issues that are still pending, such as the end of unpaid lunch hours, PLR [participação nos lucros e resultados] and the payment of 100% of overtime”, said at the time the acting president of Sindmotoristas, Valmir Santana da Paz, known as Sorriso.
The negotiation between drivers and collectors with bus companies in São Paulo is marked by the context of the pandemic in Brazil. In 2020, shortly after the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic, the category faced a salary campaign in a very adverse scenario.
With the quarantine and advancement of remote work, the movement of passengers has dropped dramatically throughout Brazil. A survey carried out by the National Confederation of Workers in Land Transport pointed to the loss of 70,000 jobs only among urban public and metropolitan passenger transport workers until February 2021.
In the city of São Paulo alone, bus companies reported up to 5,000 layoffs. In this context, the union acted to avoid dismissals and accepted the reduction of value or suspension of several items of the collective agreement.
“We had to go to court to force companies to provide mask and gel alcohol. We also fought against the reduction of the fleet that the companies wanted and that would put the population at risk, we fought to return to the circulating fleet before, “recalls Nailton Francisco de Souza, executive director of the Maintenance Workers Sector of Sindmotoristas.
An example concerns the working day of the category. Nailton explains that drivers and collectors have a journey of 7 hours and 10 minutes, including a 30-minute paid lunch break. However, in the context of the pandemic, this break was withdrawn, reducing the total journey to 6h40 – and salaries, in the same proportion. According to Nailton, the salary loss reaches R$ 600 per month for drivers and R$ 400 for collectors. Workers demand a return to the previous model.
Also in the context of the pandemic, an agreement was made for the non-payment of the Profit Sharing (PLR), as the sector was facing losses. Now, workers charge an amount of R$2,500, to be paid on a straight-line basis to all employees – the last PLR received was in 2019, with an amount of R$2000 paid in two installments.
“The union made its contribution. We understood the difficulties, we had the common sense to understand this situation, imagining that companies would do the same when the situation returned to normal. We expect companies to have a minimum of rationality”, he maintains.
Editing: Rodrigo Durao Coelho