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Workers at World Cup 2014 stadium strike

Workers building a World Cup stadium in north-eastern Brazil remained on strike on Wednesday to demand better pay and improved benefits.

The strike in Fortaleza entered its second week after workers rejected an offer made by the construction companies involved in the project.

The construction companies said they were disappointed with the workers' decision to continue the strike and said the work stoppage could eventually delay the stadium's completion.

The union representing the workers said they will not return to work at the Castelao stadium until a better offer is made.

World Cup organisers said recently that the Castelao is the stadium closest to being finished, with 60 per cent of work completed. It will host six 2014 World Cup matches and will also be a venue at the Confederations Cup next year.

The construction companies Galvao Engenharia and Andrade Mendonca said they offered workers pay raises that ranged between 14 per cent and 21 per cent, depending on their position. They said the offer was higher than the estimated inflation in Brazil.


"The workers said it was not enough and didn't accept that percentage offered by the companies," union representative Arquimedes Fortes told The Associated Press.

He said workers also want an improved health care plan, better overtime conditions and a share of the companies' profits.

"We deeply lament the (workers') decision to continue the strike," the companies said in a statement. "All efforts are being made to solve the problem."

The strike began April 4 and both sides have been negotiating since then to try to reach an agreement.

There have been other workers' strikes at several World Cup venues, including at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, the Fonte Nova in Salvador, the Mineirao in Belo Horizonte and the Arena Pernambuco in Recife.

The Brazilian government said earlier this month that construction at 2014 World Cup stadiums was on schedule in all 12 host cities, although only five stadiums had more than 50 per cent of work completed.