São Paulo IT professionals go on strike

Techies in the Brazilian state can't agree with employers around payrise and benefits; employers cannot fire or deduct pay from those involved in the action

São Paulo technology workers union Sindpd will start a state-wide strike starting tomorrow (21) following weeks of unfruitful negotiations with IT employers around increases in pay and benefits.

Negotiations between workers union Sindpd and Seprosp, the union representing the employers, reached a dead end this week and the employees association called a strike. Nearly 100,000 São Paulo-based professionals working for companies of all sizes are represented by Sindpd, which is the largest technology workers union in the country.

Until the situation is resolved, IT companies are not allowed to make any employer redundant - according to the workers' union, this provision exists to exclude the possibility of employers sacking staff because they have gone on strike. Companies are also banned from deducting any pay from staff involved in the action.

"If you are sick of hearing your boss boasting about the company's record profit while refusing to boost your pay accordingly, you should go on strike," the workers union says on its website.

"Without a strike, things will not change - it is clear that IT employers want to maintain an army of professionals on low pay and without benefits," it adds.

When the annual set of demands was announced in December , Sindpd said it would claim a 10 percent salary increase for workers, profit sharing plans and an increase in daily meal allowances.

After several negotiation rounds, the workers association said it would settle for 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.

Seprosp, the trade 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.

The head of IT employers union Seprosp, Luigi Nese, told ZDNet last month that the increase in pay that was offered was already fair and that some demands, such as meal subsidies for smaller companies, are harder to meet.

If the previous strike that took place in 2011 is anything go by, Sindpd will continue to encourage workers across the state to join the strike and if the employers fail to come up with an offer, the workers union will take the demands to the Ministry of Labor, which will then attempt to find a common ground between staff and employers.