7,000 Workers Strike at Brazil's Amazon Dam Project
Agence France Press, via The Raw Story
April 22, 2012
BRASILIA, Brazil — Some 7,000 workers at a contested
dam in Brazil's Amazon region went on strike Monday
demanding better working conditions, the consortium in
charge of the project said.
The Belo Monte consortium said many workers joined
the strike because labor unions erected barricades on the
road leading to the site, located near the town of Altamira
on the Xingu River in the northern Brazilian state of Para.
The workers are demanding that they get a free air fare and
a nine-day break to visit their families every three months
instead of the current six months. They also want a higher
Work on the $11 billion project that has irked indigenous
groups, environmentalists and local residents got under
way last June.
With a capacity of 11,200 megawatts, the hydroelectric dam
is portrayed by Brazil's government as a key piece of its
plan to boost national energy production for one of the
world's fastest-growing emerging economies.
It would be the third biggest dam in the world, after China's
Three Gorges Dam and the Itaipu Dam on the border between
Brazil and Paraguay.
The dam is expected to flood an area of 500 square
kilometers (200 square miles) along the Xingu River
and displace 16,000 people, according to the government,
although some NGOs put the number at 40,000 displaced locals.
In December, a judge revoked his own order to halt work,
saying the consortium had shown the dam would not impede
local fishing or affect the natural flow of the river.
Indigenous groups fear that the dam will harm their way of
life, while environmentalists have warned that it could lead
to deforestation, methane emissions and an irreparable
changes to the Xingu River's ecosystem.
The government had pledged to minimize the environmental
and social impact of the dam and insisted that no traditional
indigenous land was to be affected.
But its construction has been the subject of legal wrangling
PortsideLabor aims to provide material of interest to
people on the left that will help them to interpret the
world and to change it.
Submit via email: [log in to unmask]
Submit via the Web: http://portside.org/submittous3
Frequently asked questions: http://portside.org/faq
PS Labor Archives: http://portside.org/archive
Contribute to Portside: https://portside.org/donate