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São Paulo Monorail Collapses Days Before World Cup Begins

One dead and two injured after a section of monorail collapsed in south Sao Paulo, making nine 2014 World Cup construction-related deaths.

by Jordan Larson
Jun 10 2014, 4:15pm

Photo via AP/Mario Angelo

A section of monorail collapsed in south Sao Paulo Monday night, killing one construction worker, injuring two others, and rounding out a robust list of transportation woes for Brazil ahead of the World Cup.

It’s still unknown what exactly caused the collapse of the monorail, which is behind schedule. Designed to connect the Congonhas-Sao Paulo Airport to the city’s main rail system, the monorail is expected to transport 100,000 people a day.

As can be seen in the video below, a large section of the monorail between two supporting beams was completely lost. As the BBC notes, eight workers have also died in constructing in Brazil’s 12 World Cup arenas.

With the first match scheduled for Thursday, Brazil is now left scrambling to work around the monorail collapse, the impending PR fallout, and ongoing negotiations with transit workers in both Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. After five days of striking, subway workers in Sao Paulo voted last night to momentarily return to work, but have threatened to continue the strike on Thursday when the World Cup begins, according to the Associated Press.

The transit workers union is asking the city for a 12 percent pay increase, but has also said it would consider reducing salary demand in exchange for enhanced benefits. However, the city has so far refused to go higher than the 8.7 percent pay increase decided by a labor court. The court has also deemed the strike illegal, fining the union $175,000 for the first four days of the strike and adding $220,000 for each additional day after.

Police and Bus Drivers Strike in Brazil Ahead of World Cup. Read more here.

"I love soccer! I support our national team. The point is not to stop the Cup," said Altino Prazeres, the union’s president. "We want to resolve this today and all are willing to negotiate.”

Prazeres also claimed that nearly all of the union’s 8,000 members had participated in the strike. About 60 of those workers have been fired, according to the AP. This morning The Wall Street Journal reported that the union is now more interested in getting the workers rehired than in having their salary demands met.

While workers in Sao Paulo are currently back at work, metro workers in Rio de Janeiro have also threatened to strike, claiming the lowest salaries of subway workers in the country. Bus drivers in the city went on strike last month, returning to work on May 15. Teachers and police in the city have also held strikes in recent weeks.

Follow Jordan Larson on Twitter: @jalarsonist