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Author Topic: About Brazilian trucker's "strike"  (Read 149 times)
bitmover
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June 06, 2018, 12:25:13 AM
Merited by suchmoon (10), Jet Cash (5), paxmao (3)
 #1

A friend from Europe asked me to talk about the trucker's strike in Brazil.

That's not an easy task, as the "strike" (which is not a strike at all, as I will explain) is a peak event in a long crisis. I will try to explain our bizarre country to you guys, who lives in a normal country.

The first thing that someone from a Western Europe or from USA must understand is that here in Brazil we live a socialist economy (or close to that).
In the Index of Economic Freedom, from Heritage Foundation, Brazil is the country 153 out of 180.
The Estate controls everything, from gas price to the salaries, water and electricity....



About the trucker's strike, everything began in the 50s, when a President called Juscelino Kubitschek created a Keynesian economic plan that would make our country grow "50 years in 5 years".
He was working with the famous (among socialists worldwide) Keynesian economist Celso Furtado, which ruined our economy a few times.

Juscelino thought that the best for Brazil was to build roads connecting the whole country, ignoring all other means of transportation. He got very high loans, which we are probably still paying for them.

As a result of his plans we do not have railroads or waterways in Brazil (a few only), and almost everything is transported by trucks. Truckers and trucker's unions are a strong category here in Brazil.
This is terrible for our economy as Brazil is a big country and transporting products on trucks is expensive. We pay for this expensive transportation in every product we consume.



In the 2002 the centrists (social democrats) lost the election and Lula (former union leader, socialist-oriented and Chaves' friend) became the president. He was president until 2010 and elected his successor from the same party twice, at 2010 and 2014. They ran a very popular program called "bolsa familia" which pays about 70 USD monthly to 25% of Brazil's population. To receive the money, you cannot work. If you work, you lose the free money from bolsa familia. This program was responsible for this party high popularity over those dark years.

But in 2016 the country economy was mostly destroyed and corruption scandals involving the former President lead to an impeachment. Later on Lula was arrested for corruption. (Lula was basically giving billions and billions of dollars from Brazil to Cuba and Venezuela for free, through a company called Odebrecht). The vice president, Temer, who is from another party is now leading the country. He is not a socialist, but still involved in the same corruption schemes as Lula. But as he is not a socialist,  the economy was recovering.


Temer's is not popular. Temer is the vice president of Dilma, the socialist candidate who won the election. But he is not socialist, and people who voted for dilma wanted a socialist. The rest of the country also do not like him, because he is corrupted and associated to Dilma and Lula. Nobody likes him.

In Brazil we have a weird tax called imposto sindical (union tax). Everyone who works, must pay one day per year of their earnings to an union. As a result, we have now over 16 thousand unions . I told you my country was bizarre. People who work have to pay Bolsa Familia (25% of the country, who doesnt work) and to more people who dont work, the Unions.

Temer, who is now our president,  in a A Momentary Lapse of Reason decided to terminate this crazy tax. As expected he faced the fury of 16 thousand unions who were millionaires and now would have to work. How can someone be so evil, forcing people to work? What about "their rights"?

After Lula was arrested, there were many strikes claiming for Lula, things like "Free Lula". They were mostly lead by syndicates and people who receive bolsa familia. Nobody cared about those "strikes", as the strikers don't work anyway, and very few people participated in those strikes.

Few days ago, the Trucker's Union and few big private companies decided to do a Strike, forcing the government to reduce gas prices so they could make more money.
But this was not a common strike, this was a blockade.



Truckers stopped their trucks in front of refineries and strategic road hubs, blocking all accesses.
As a result, we had gasoline shortage, medicine shortage, food shortage, etc...

Most of the media said this strike was not made by unions (everyone hates them in Brazil). But this is false.
One of the first things Temer did to stop the strike was "the termination of the legal actions proposed by the government against the entities that promoted the strike"

Well, in the end, the striked stopped when Petrobras CEO resigned.
Petrobras is the biggest company in Brazil, with a marketcap similar to Ethereum marketcap. Petrobras is a state owned company which has the monopoly of oil & gas industry in the country.  Petrobras controls the gasoline and diesel prices. Petrobras CEO was market-oriented and said he would not sell gasoline below the market price, as the truckers and unions wanted. He was forced to resign, and the strike ended in the same day.

Now Petrobras is going to sell gasoline and diesel below the market. The company will soon be smaller than  Ripple and unions will be happy.


As a result for this mess caused by an incompetent government and truckers and unions, Bolsonaro, a conservative candidate, is now leading all polls in all scenarios with all possible candidates.

This is very important, as we never had a truly conservative and right wing president after the authoritarian regime ended, in the 80s.

Sorry for my grammar mistakes.
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June 07, 2018, 08:55:50 AM
Merited by bitmover (1)
 #2


In Brazil we have a weird tax called imposto sindical (union tax). Everyone who works, must pay one day per year of their earnings to an union. As a result, we have now over 16 thousand unions . I told you my country was bizarre. People who work have to pay Bolsa Familia (25% of the country, who doesnt work) and to more people who dont work, the Unions.

That is also true in many European countries. People who work support people who don't, at different degrees depending on the country and government,  and Unions are subsidized in many. That in itself is not bad, depending on how it is effectively articulated.

I was aware that Brazil had one of the most regulated and ring-fenced labor markets, as some of my friends went there to work for their companies and had to do shitloads of legal paperwork and they also commented that there was almost zero functional flexibility - e.g. A guy was at a work site to simply take notes and he could do nothing but take notes ("apuntador"). No, he could not send an email, no he could not look for someone, no he could not help in something else, etc.

Thanks for excellent report.
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June 07, 2018, 02:41:21 PM
 #3

That is also true in many European countries. People who work support people who don't, at different degrees depending on the country and government,  and Unions are subsidized in many. That in itself is not bad, depending on how it is effectively articulated.

I was aware that Brazil had one of the most regulated and ring-fenced labor markets, as some of my friends went there to work for their companies and had to do shitloads of legal paperwork and they also commented that there was almost zero functional flexibility - e.g. A guy was at a work site to simply take notes and he could do nothing but take notes ("apuntador"). No, he could not send an email, no he could not look for someone, no he could not help in something else, etc.

Thanks for excellent report.

Thanks for your feedback and your time reading my report.

I think that labor regulations are one of the biggest problems in Brazil. People say it's the "most advanced" in the world. Labors have so many rights, like the ones you mentioned. Those rights are bad for us (I am an employee too), cause we could have higher salaries if we hadn't all those rights.

We even have a especialized justice here, called Justiça do trabalho , that could be translated to "labor justice " or something like that . Judges there are highly especialized in employees cases, and they cannot judge anything else. And they are very employee-oriented.

I expect to see some more posts like this here, about the situation in other countries in the world.
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June 07, 2018, 05:24:11 PM
Merited by suchmoon (5), Jet Cash (2), bitmover (1), theyoungmillionaire (1)
 #4

What is also important to make clear, is that the government has always acted in determining the price of fuel in Brazil.

Until recently, Petrobras had the exclusive monopoly over any Petroleum related product. Gradually this was modified, especially with the discovery of the Pre-Salt. Pre-Salt is a Brazilian offshore region with an estimated 176 billion barrels of oil and gas.

Brazil still needs to import oil since the large amount produced is the heavy type, that is not so good for gasoline. Besides, we could not refine everything. The previous government almost led Petrobras to bankruptcy. Forcing her to hold fuel readjustments to keep the inflation low before the elections. The government paid no attention to the international price and the price paid for refined petroleum. With this, Petrobras took a lot of damage and their stocks hit the floor. The government is owner of 68% and investors are the owner of the rest. Including American investors. Petrobras was sued in the US for this reason and for the scandals of corruption. [1]

The present Government did exactly the opposite. He began to readjust the price daily. And with that, Petrobras was able to make a big profit. The reason is that the price of Brent Barrel rose a lot and the dollar too.

But the truckers did not like it. Added to the fact of an over-supply of freight services. The activity of the truck drivers became very unprofitable. They were closing a contract thinking about a fuel at a certain price and halfway through the trip the price was already way higher.

The government's solution was what is already standard in the proposals of the Brazilian politicians. Favor one sector and require the rest of the population to pay the bill. Government will pay, with national treasury funds, a share of the value of diesel. This solution seeks not to harm Petrobras, so that it continues with profit. And help the truckers pay a low price for the diesel.

[1] https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/energy/2018/01/03/corruption-scandal-petrobras-agrees-pay-settle-case/999233001/
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