Employers attempt to obstruct IT strike in São Paulo

Union representing tech companies wants to stop protests and contract termination freezes
Written by Angelica Mari, Contributing Writer

São Paulo-based technology employers have attempted to obstruct the strike of sector professionals across the state for better pay and benefits.

According to workers union Sindpd, technology employers body Seprosp filed a preliminary injunction action to prevent contract termination freezes - by law, IT companies are not allowed to end contracts during a strike, or deduct any pay from any employer involved in the action.

In Brazil, workers unions get involved in the process that follows the termination of an employment contract, which is not considered legal and complete until the union checks that salaries and proportional benefits have been paid before the worker moves on. In the IT workers union case, terminations will not be "signed off" unless they are a result of voluntary programs or occurred before the strike.

"[The incentive to lay off striking employees] is irresponsible and illegal, because attempts to obstruct the right to strike circumvents Brazilian and international legislation," says Antonio Neto, director at Sindpd, the workers union.

The freeze provision exists to exclude the possibility of employers sacking staff because they have gone on strike, says Sindpd. The IT bosses' request, however, was denied by the local labour court, as was a separate motion intended to prevent protests or the distribution of strike propaganda outside the companies where staff members have gone on strike.

Seprosp, the IT employers association, was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.

The state of São Paulo concentrates the largest chunk of technology companies and workers in Brazil. Since the strike of São Paulo techies commenced in February, the Ministry of Labor has requested that temporary suspension of the action until an upcoming ruling establishes a common ground between staff and employers.

The São Paulo workers want a 8.8 percent pay rise, plus daily meal allowances of R$16 ($6,70) and profit sharing plans for any IT company with more than 10 staff and profit sharing plans for all IT companies. The body representing the employers has offered a 6.2 percent pay rise, daily meal subsidies of R$14 ($5,80) for companies that employ more than 50 staff and profit sharing plans for companies with more than 30 employees.

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