São Paulo IT workers struggle to get pay increase

Employers present proposal below union demands; a strike might be in the horizon

Negotiations for salary increases led by the workers' union of the Brazilian state of São Paulo appear to be getting heated as employers are refusing to readjust pay to meet the demands.

The state's IT workers union Sindpd and employers body Seprosp are already in the third round of negotiations and haven't so far managed to get to an understanding of what the yearly increase in pay - which is granted yearly in Brazil - should be.

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Companies have so far offered 7 percent, well under the 11,25 percent the workers were angling for and considered by Sindpd an "insignificant gain" for technology professionals as it is below the inflation rate of about 11 percent.

The president of employers association Seprosp, Luigi Nese, said that the overall economic instability in Brazil needs to be taken into account. "If we are facing an economic crisis, both in terms of growth and instability, we have to analyze things a bit more calmly. The IT sector is one of the most important to the national economy with above average salaries," Nese says.

According to workers' union president Antonio Neto, the very fact that the IT sector performs above average means companies should pay more. "It is unacceptable to even analyze proposals that are offensive to sector workers," Neto said.

Neto says that large IT multinationals have tried to stall the negotiations and "only confuse matters." He added that if a satisfactory increase is not granted, the union will call for a strike of IT professionals across the state.