Brazil’s central bank employees go on strike, as its chief vacations in Miami

People walk in front the Central Bank headquarters building in Brasilia, Brazil March 22, 2022. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo

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BRASILIA, April 1 (Reuters) – Brazil’s central bank employees began an indefinite strike for a wage increase on Friday, threatening the stability of the wildly popular Pix instant payment system and the publication of data releases.

With Brazilian inflation reaching double digits, public sector strikes have become more common in recent months, disrupting the government’s day-to-day operations and causing headaches for President Jair Bolsonaro as he seeks re-election in October.

The strike is taking place while central bank head Roberto Campos Neto is in Miami on a pre-scheduled vacation.

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Brazil’s central bank employees voted on Monday for an indefinite strike starting on April 1, citing unanswered wage increase demands.

In a statement, Fabio Faiad, president of the workers’ union SINAL, said he expected 60%-70% of workers to adhere to the strike.

The central bank said on Friday that its Focus Survey of economists will not be published on the expected date next week, nor will data on foreign exchange flows and Brazilian savings accounts. It did not say when publication will resume.

In his statement on Friday, Faiad also bemoaned the timing of Campos Neto’s vacation.

“Sadly, during such an important moment, the president of the central bank went on vacation to Miami, which does not help at all for us to find a solution to this crisis,” Faiad said.

Campos Neto, who has been on vacation since Thursday, met virtually with workers’ representatives on Tuesday, but Faiad said the meeting was “a fiasco,” with no proposals.

The central bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The central bank’s Pix payment system has been a huge success in Brazil, and has won international plaudits. The system is free of charge for individuals and allows instant payments and transfers.

Just 15 months after its launch, it has been used by 114 million individuals in Brazil – 67% of the adult population – moving 6.7 trillion reais ($1.36 trillion) and recently surpassing the level of credit and debit cards.

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Reporting by Marcela Ayres Editing by Gabriel Stargardter, Alistair Bell and Rosalba O’Brien

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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