No guarantee of rights

Same as last year


Brazil is one of the 10 worst countries in the world for working people

  • Murders

  • Repression of strikes

  • Collective bargaining undermined

In 2021, the situation for workers in Brazil worsened as strikes were met with violence by police forces who regularly used tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets at close range against protesters. Several union representatives received death threats, often in retaliation for organising strikes, and two trade union leaders were murdered.

Since the adoption of Act No. 13467 in 2017, the entire collective bargaining system has collapsed in Brazil, with an immediate and drastic decline of 45% in the number of collective agreements concluded. The situation was compounded by President Bolsonaro’s abysmal management of the coronavirus pandemic. On 22 March 2020, the president issued a controversial Provisional Executive Order 927 that allowed companies to adopt measures undermining workers’ labour protections, including the suspension of employment contracts without the payment of salaries for up to four months. Faced with unanimous outcries from workers and unions, the measure was withdrawn, but other arrangements remained, such as the unilaterally imposed 25% salary reduction.

Workers' rights violations


In Brazil, trade unionist João Inácio da Silva was shot dead by two motorcyclists while he was sitting in front of his house in Parauapebas, Pará, on 6 November 2020. He was president of the Montes Belos Workers' Cooperative. Da Silva had recently received death threats. To date, no arrest has been made.

On 23 July 2020, Hamilton Dias de Moura, president of the Union of Drivers and Employees in Companies of Freight Transportation, Logistics in Transportation and Differentiated of Belo Horizonte and Region (SIMECLODIF), was murdered. Moura's body was found with several bullet holes in the passenger seat of his own car in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais.

Right to collective bargaining

The São Paulo state government ignored the proposals of the Union of Subway Workers in four consecutive negotiation rounds and even dismissed the Regional Labour Court that tried to mediate an agreement to unilaterally apply wage cuts in the June 2020 payroll, thus violating the sectoral collective agreement.

Right to collective bargaining

In Brazil, many companies used economic difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to violate collective agreements and union consultation, massively laying off workers. On 3 September 2020, Embraer, a Brazilian aerospace products company, announced the dismissal of 2,500 workers. The dismissals were carried out without negotiation with the metalworkers’ union of São José dos Campos, in violation of a job preservation agreement signed on 9 April 2020.

Right to collective bargaining

Nestlé in Espírito Santos and Bahia refused to distribute profit sharing to workers, as had been agreed in the company-level collective agreement. The management also proposed to reduce the food allowance by 48.6 %, from 680 reals to 350 reals (US$124 – US$63). Nestlé withdrew these proposals after workers started to protest.

Workers for food delivery companies in Brazil call for decent working conditions. The situation for workers in the country worsened in 2021.Gustavo Basso/ NurPhoto via AFP

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