São Paulo Metro workers approved in an assembly on Wednesday night (20) that they will join the strike called for October 3rd. The strike, which aims to demonstrate that the categories are contrary to the privatization project for public companies in the state of São Paulo, was initially approved at the CPTM workers’ assembly. In the coming days, Sabesp workers will vote on whether to join the movement.
The news was given by Camila Lisboa, president of the Subway Workers’ Union, during the public hearing in support of the popular plebiscite on the privatizations of public Metro, CPTM and Sabesp lines, held at the Legislative Assembly of the State of São Paulo ( Alesp) this Wednesday.
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“The subway workers just approved a strike on October 3rd, together with the CPTM. Lines 8 and 9 got worse after privatization and these billionaires are making money. That’s why there will be a strike on the subway and at CPTM, a joint strike. Let’s go make history and show the strength of workers’ unity to governor Tarcísio (de Freitas (Republicans))”, he said.
The union president also pointed out that the strike tends to enhance the process of collecting votes for the popular plebiscite, organized by unions and popular movements to discuss privatizations, which will have its deadline postponed to November 5th.
“We even voted to extend the plebiscite for another month. In the first week of October, last week of September, we will do a preview, but we will continue, because the dialogue is very good and the plebiscite helps us to expand this discussion with those who need it public transport and cheap basic sanitation water. We think that our strike will enhance the plebiscite because we will put in the media this discussion that Tarcísio is trying to do secretly”, he pointed out.
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State deputy Simão Pedro (PT-SP) argues that this space, as well as the plebiscite, are important forms of dialogue and mobilization of the population so that what is behind the privatization processes can be explained.
“This is an instrument to raise awareness of the struggle that we are using. Why? Because the government has very strong instruments, such as the press, the speeches it makes. It tries to say that privatization is better, that it will guarantee more services in a way faster. He is lying, saying that the tariffs will be cheaper. We know that historically this does not happen. So, the plebiscite, these public hearings, will serve us to build arguments, share the information with the population”, he stated .
For Thiago Duarte, who is part of the organization of the popular plebiscite committees, the population’s reception to the plebiscite is very positive.
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“People, most of them, are not aware. I think this is the governor’s objective, to do it secretly. And then when you talk about the impact this will have on the increase in water bills, from the perspective of transportation lines, the The fact that privatized train lines are very bad for the population, privatization is received very negatively and people are participating, they are voting and they want to be consulted in a certain way”, he believes.
Over-the-top agreements between state and city hall
On September 16, the mayor of São Paulo, Ricardo Nunes, signed a document that reduces municipal control over Sabesp in the city. In an event that took place without publicity, Nunes signed a membership agreement with the Regional Water and Sewage Unit (Urae 1).
The regional units were created by former governor João Doria in 2021, as a way of adapting the state of São Paulo to the new sanitation regulatory framework. The divisions deal with sanitation on a regional basis, removing power from municipalities and Sabesp itself and passing important decisions – including on privatization – to regional councils.
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The city of São Paulo had not adhered to the model, a situation that changed with Nunes. The deadline for signing membership had already ended in 2022, but a decree from Governor Tarcísio de Freitas reopened access to Uraes in the state.
Helena Maria da Silva, vice-president of the Union of Water, Sewage and Environmental Workers of the State of São Paulo (Sintaema), explains what is behind Ricardo Nunes’s adherence to the model.
“Unfortunately, the governor issued a decree allowing the extension of the deadline for entry into Urae, which is an organization via the new Sanitation Regulatory Framework. Here in São Paulo, the municipality of São Paulo was not in Urae. And with the opening that the Tarcísio made this decree, the municipality managed to get in. By joining Urae and changing governance as he did, he (governor Tarcísio de Freitas) and Ricardo Nunes, for example, will be able to decide with the stroke of a pen just the privatization of the 375 municipalities. So you won’t have to argue with each city hall and they will be able to speed up the privatization process”, he explained.
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Helena remembers that this adherence is being questioned, especially by parliamentarians from the São Paulo City Council.
“Ricardo Nunes could not have done this alone as mayor. He would have had to convene and discuss this at the São Paulo City Council, because the councilors would have had to have this discussion. In fact, there are several statements from councilors, saying that they have to discuss , we have to hold a public hearing, it’s not possible to hand over all this assets at once with just the stroke of a pen from the mayor and Tarcísio with this deal they did”.
Editing: Thalita Pires