Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Brazilian Embassy employees strike for higher wages

As Brazil deals with the fallout from last week’s removal of President Dilma Rousseff in the midst of a long-running corruption scandal, a new crisis is brewing: a partial strike by Brazilian Foreign Ministry employees around the world. The work slowdown —which began in late August right after the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics wrapped up — has affected operations at 106 Brazilian missions in 80 countries worldwide. These include the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, as well as 10 of the country’s 11 U.S. consulates from Boston to San Francisco; only the consulate in Miami has not been hit. At issue is wages. The strikers — all employees of the Brazilian Foreign Ministry — claim they receive far less than other federal workers doing similar jobs back home. According to the union representing the striking workers, chancellery assistant staffers at the Foreign Ministry earn the equivalent of $1,000 a month upon their return home, while chancellery officers earn the equivalent of $2,000 a month and diplomats about $5,000 a month. The union seeks a 53 percent salary increase for the first group, a 42 percent increase for the second and a 9 percent increase for the third. At the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, none of the 22 diplomats are on strike, yet 11 out of the 18 administrative people are participating — as are five of the six employees at Brazil’s mission to the Organization of American States, according to Eduardo Pamplona Bulhões, who is in charge of personnel at the embassy.



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