Central Bank workers end strike after three months

Central Bank workers end strike
The Central Bank building in Brasília. Photo: Rafastockbr/Shutterstock

Civil servants employed at the Brazilian Central Bank on Tuesday announced the end of their strike, which started on April 1. Workers demanded a 26-percent wage readjustment, to compensate for inflation over the past three years.

The strike ends without their demands being met. The deadline for pay raises to federal workers for this year was on Monday, but President Jair Bolsonaro said budgetary limitations prevented him from granting a raise. 

Unions say they will continue to stage go-slow protests to push for raises to be included in next year’s budget. “A classic strike no longer makes sense, so we will change our approach,” Fábio Faiad, a union leader, told Reuters.

Mobilization for pay raises among civil servants started late last year after Mr. Bolsonaro said he intended to increase wages for federal law enforcement agents. Workers in a range of other sectors began asking for the same treatment. 

Multiple public services were disrupted by a wave of protests by public employees, including of the INSS social security institute, the Treasury Department, and the Federal Comptroller’s Office. Go-slow actions by customs officers also clogged imports at several ports.

During the three-month strike, the Central Bank was unable to publish several gauges of economic activity used by markets. Many feared the strike would disrupt PIX, the instant payment system controlled by the bank and which has become Brazil’s leading payment system with over 1.6 billion transactions since its November 2020 launch. However, that did not come to pass.

In the end, although civil servants’ demands were not met, most have returned to work. On Monday, Mr. Bolsonaro signed a decree raising the amount servants get for business trip expenses  — a small consolation prize.