Brazilian federal police are threatening a national strike during the World Cup if the government is unwilling to negotiate a 15 per cent salary increase.
An inflatable white elephant hovered on Wednesday at a police protest outside the venue where coach Luiz Felipe Scolari announced the 23-member Brazilian World Cup team in Rio de Janeiro.
Fifty representatives from the Federal Police Union held the elephant up high to raise attention to the government´s unwillingness to recognize that, despite increased inflation, police salaries have remained stagnant for the past nine years, and their demands have been ignored.
“With all these big events - the Confederations Cup, the Pope's visit - the federal government has been promising us that if we worked during those events without striking they would sit down to negotiate. That still has not happened. Now the World Cup is our limit because if by the end of the month of May, if there is no official proposal from the federal government we will strike during the World Cup," said Andre Melo, President of the Federal Police Union.
Beginning on June 12 and ending July 13, the World Cup will be held in 12 Brazilian cities and is expected to attract an influx of 600,000 tourists.
Violent clashes between favela (slum) residents and the federal police have surged in the months leading up to the event. Social protests bemoan faulty national priorities, raising that money could be better allocated towards increased social spending and infrastructure investment. The World Cup has also been blamed for rising rent and soaring levels of homelessness.
Representatives from the Federal Police Union are meeting next week in Brasilia to discuss a course of action if the government does not comply with their demands.