Working Class March gathers thousands of people in Brasilia to fight for rights

About 20,000 workers demanded better working conditions and the repeal of the labor reform

Translated by: Ana Paula Rocha

Brasil de Fato | Brasília (Federal District) |
Among the demands workers presented in the march were the reconstruction of the state of Rio Grande do Sul and the repeal of the so-called “New High School” educational reform, approved by the Temer government (Aug. 2016-Jan. 2019) - Rafaela Ferreira

On Wednesday (22), the Working Class March brought together thousands of people, trade unions and social movements from all over the country in Brasilia, Brazil’s capital city. The event aimed to present President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Workers’ Party) and the National Congress with an agenda that guarantees full employment, better wages and economic and social development for the country.

About 20,000 workers joined the march, according to the Single Workers' Center (CUT, in Portuguese), one of the organizers of the march. Speaking to Brasil de Fato DF, the organization's national president, Sérgio Nobre, stressed that the power of the streets and workers' movements is fundamental to building public policies. “Today, we showed that we are not going to give up our rights. We are going to expand them in the Chamber of Deputies and Senate,” said Nobre.

Among the demands workers presented at the march were the reconstruction of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, the repeal of the so-called “New High School” education system, decent work, valuing public services, less interest and the correction of the income tax table. The demonstration was also in defense of the law on equal pay for men and women and agrarian reform.

According to Nilza Almeida, general secretary of the working-class organization Intersindical, the act restates and updates workers' demands. The demands were delivered to Lula when he was a presidential candidate in the 2022 elections. According to Nilza, some points have already been met, but there are still demands awaiting an opinion.

“There have been many years of attacks on workers' rights. That's why we organized this march: to present the agenda once again to the workers who came to take part in the activity. It will then be filed with all the agencies, the Senate, the National Congress and the Supreme Court. That's because workers' lives and their legal, political and institutional lives, go through the branches of government, the Presidency of the Republic, the Senate, the National Congress and the Supreme Court,” said the general secretary.


Before the workers marched towards the National Congress, a plenary session was held with ministers from the Lula government and representatives of social movements. The Minister of Labor and Employment, Luiz Marinho (Workers’ Party), attended the event and spoke about the importance of establishing a real and solid analysis of the mobilization to clarify to any caucus linked to Lula or the far right what is actually happening to workers.

“The right to work and the labor relationship have been under attack since the coup against President Dilma [in 2016]. So, it's time to react, to put this debate on the agenda, reduce working hours, [talk about] the right to work, collective bargaining. Recovering the damage caused by nefarious governments is fundamental,” the minister told Brasil de Fato DF.

The plenary session was also attended by the Acting Minister for Women, Maria Helena Guarezi, and Márcio Macêdo, who heads the Secretary General of the Republic.

The occasion also saw the launch of the “Legal Agenda of the Trade Union Centers at the Supreme Court - 2024”. The material is divided by subject and highlights the main cases that could impact Brazilian workers.

Other demands

Professors from federal universities, who have been on strike since April, also took part in the mobilization. The category is demanding that their salaries and budgets be restored, as well as career restructuring.

Francieli Rebelatto, director of the National Union of Teachers of Higher Education Institutions (Andes-SN, in Portuguese), says it is important to broaden the unity of workers to strengthen the federal education strike. “That way, we'll fight for public funds, because we want quality universities, institutes and Cefets [federal institutes] from the north to the south of Brazil. We want workers to be valued and students to be able to enter and stay at university,” she said.

The march also brought together people’s movements from all over the country. The national leader of People Affected by Dams (MBA, in Portuguese), Yuri Paulino, talked about the importance of the demonstration. “It's an extremely important struggle because it represents workers' unity and resumes a process of advancement in the collective mobilization of the Brazilian people, of Brazilian workers so that we can put pressure on the government to advance the workers' agenda presented here.”

“Yesterday, we had the Grito pela Terra [Cry for the Land], by Contag comrades, and today is the Workers' March. This is an important indication of the growing mobilization of those of us who support the Lula government, but want the government to make progress on the important agendas of the working class,” he explained.

Edited by: Márcia Silva