SAO PAULO (AP) — A subway strike in Sao Paulo that threatened to disrupt the opening of the World Cup was averted Wednesday night even as airport workers in Rio de Janeiro declared a 24-hour work stoppage in the main destination for soccer fans traveling to Brazil.
Some 1,500 subway workers in Sao Paulo voted against going back on strike in a pay dispute. They had suspended the walkout Monday amid a popular backlash and government pressure to end the transportation chaos in Brazil's biggest city.
"We thought that right now it's better to wait," union president Altino Prazeres said, but added that he wouldn't rule out resuming the strike sometime during the monthlong soccer tournament. "We get the feeling that maybe we aren't as prepared for a full confrontation with police on the day the World Cup starts."
The union said its members would hold a march Thursday morning demanding that 42 workers fired during the five-day work stoppage are rehired.
World Cup organizers are counting on Sao Paulo's subway system to carry tens of thousands of fans Thursday to Itaquerao stadium, where Brazil will play Croatia in the tournament's first game far from the hotel areas where most tourists are staying.
Even as tensions eased in Sao Paulo, labor conflicts heated up in Rio, where fans were arriving ahead of Sunday's match between Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
On Wednesday, check-in counter clerks, baggage handlers and janitorial staff who have been demanding raises of at least 5.6 percent for several months voted to strike starting at midnight. The work stoppage will affect the city's Galeao international airport as well as the Santos Dumont airport that connects Rio to other Brazilian destinations
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