Monday, July 14, 2003

From today's New York Times. Funny how when right-wing parties come into power they become even more dogmatic, whereas when left-wing parties come into power they start heading rightwards faster than an Indy car taking Turn One.
As a firebrand labor leader 25 years ago, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva proved adept at using strikes to persuade politicians and bosses. Now, as the president of Brazil, he finds himself on the receiving end of a walkout by government employees, who accuse him of being a turncoat because of his plan to slash their generous pension benefits.

The strike, which started last week, is the first by federal workers in Brazil, Latin America's largest country, since Mr. da Silva and the left-wing Workers' Party took power in January.

Union groups say that while Mr. da Silva has consulted businessmen and elected officials about the pension legislation, he has refused to meet with "the public workers who are the main target of the reform" and were among his most ardent supporters.

Mr. da Silva, a former leader of the metalworkers union in Sao Paulo, recently sent a pension reform package to Congress that was similar to one that the Workers' Party strenuously opposed for nearly a decade when it was in the opposition.

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