brazil strike © Bakhtiar Zein |
© Bakhtiar Zein

More strikes have hit Brazilian customs offices – the National Union of Fiscal Auditors began a 30-day walk out on Monday.

Day-to-day operations across all customs offices in the country will be affected by the dispute, but the union says “essential” services will continue to be provided.

A union statement said the action was linked to “non-compliance” with laws surrounding the regulation of workers’ rights, although one source told The Loadstar: “The strike is to do with a salary increase and will affect all types of international transport.

“As far as our business is concerned, there is nothing we can do and the government does not have the budget to provide a salary increase at this point, so, in the short run, there is no solution.”

The walk-out followed a meeting on 7 May, when the union approved a continuous shutdown.

Air Canada Cargo sent out notifications to customers noting that the customs union would be on strike for the next 30 days, adding: “Special shipments such as perishables, animals, human remains and medicines will continue to be cleared.

“But all other shipments may experience custom clearance delays for the duration of the strike; we will provide updates as the situation changes.”

And a spokesperson for Hamburg Süd told The Loadstar the line was monitoring the situation closely and would inform our clients “accordingly” if needed.

Alongside essential services, the union said it would maintain a minimum 30% staffing level across all standard operations in clearing areas and dry ports.

Brazil is no stranger to strikes, but has seen customs disputes on and off across the country, since November. The port of Santos has been the worst hit, but this latest announcement is an escalation of action, with a more unified attempt to combat recent changes to the retirement age.

Late last month, customs officers’ union Sindifisco announced it was increasing the number of strikes at the port from one day to three days a week. According to reports, this has led to upwards of 4,000 containers being delayed daily, with some imports waiting up to 21 days to clear customs.

A Sindifisco official told the JOC: “Normal clearances have leaped from a few days to up to 15 days and there is now a huge backlog. One of the main sticking points seems to be performance-based pay.”

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