Court ends Brazil’s postal strike, orders 6.5% pay deal

Brazil Post said operations are getting back to normal today, after the national labour court ordered an end to strike action. After a three-hour trial yesterday, the Superior Labour Court (TST) brought an end to conflict over a new collective bargaining agreement that has been running since negotiations began in July.

The order set the terms of a new deal based on a 6.5% wage increase, along with various benefits for the 120,000 workers of Brazil Post, which will be put into effect retrospectively to August 1, 2012.

The court in Brasilia said Brazil Post could afford to up its 5.2% offer a little more considering the BRL 800m ($394m USD) profit it made last year.

Workers were given until midnight tonight (28th September) to bring their industrial action to a halt and return to work, otherwise unions face a BRL 20,000 ($10,000 USD) per day fine.

Judges decided not to dock vacation time from workers to cover the days missed by striking. However, striking staff will be expected to compensate Brazil Post for the lost work hours over the next six months.

TST president John Dalazen said after yesterday’s trial that he believed the extreme demands of the unions had stalled negotiations with Brazil Post.

“There was a certain radicalisation of the demands, with many contrary to conditions established by law, which hindered negotiations. Both parties – employer and employees – should reflect and consider the positions taken,” he said.

Health and safety

The TST’s order leaves Brazil Post’s healthcare arrangements as they are, requiring a joint committee of management and employees to discuss any changes needed.

The court also ordered Brazil Post to do its best to run home delivery activities in the early morning, so that delivery staff can avoid the intense heat seen in much of the country, other than for urgent deliveries.

Brazil Post has agreed to run pilot projects in three locations to evaluate changes to the current process.

Unions had initially demanded a 43.7% pay rise in their dealings with Brazil Post this summer, but the Post replied that resulting labour costs would overwhelm its current total annual revenue.

Union collective

During yesterday’s trial at the TST, the government’s Ministry of Labour said that it was time for Brazil’s postal unions to properly coordinate into a national body, as it was difficult for labour negotiations to take place through the current fragmented regional system.

Fentect is the national umbrella group for Brazil’s postal unions, but “extensive” numbers of state unions no longer affiliate themselves with Fentect, with the federation itself conceding that as many as 60% of workers are effectively excluded from its negotiating efforts.

Last night Brazil Post said 90% of its workers were working normally yesterday, with about 11,825 employees on strike. The Post said its entire work force would be back in operation today.

The company said in a statement that it expected its delivery services to get fully back to normal this weekend.

About 89.8% of mail was delivered on time over the past six days during the industrial action, around 191.3m letters and parcels.

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