Workers on Strike over Late Pay at Delayed Brazilian World Cup Stadium

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Workers on Strike over Late Pay at Delayed Brazilian World Cup Stadium
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

A dispute over late pay at the site of a 2014 World Cup stadium renovation in Curitiba, Brazil has resulted in construction workers going on strike. 

According to the Associated Press (via Fox Sports), Curitiba mayor Gustavo Fruet said that about a third of the 1,200 workers at the stadium participated in the strike. 

Fruet was vague on the topic, per AP.

''There was a delay of the payment and there was a strike,'' he said.

However, while Fruet stated that the strike lasted a little less than three days, Atletico Paranaense—the Brazilian club that owns the stadium and is helping to finance the project—downplayed the situation even further. Mauro Holzmann, the club's marketing and communications director, talked to the AP:

He claimed that only 150 workers were involved and they only downed tools for two hours on Friday. He also said their pay was just one day late and that the labor contractor has since been paid. He didn't know, however, if the contractor had relayed the payment to the workers.

''It won't happen again. It was just a little misunderstanding,'' Holzmann said.

According to the report, a group of workers on site at the Arena da Baixada claimed they were owed one month's pay.

They have since been promised money by their superiors, but threatened to put down their tools again next week if they're not paid, per AP. 

Late financing has been a lingering issue at the site, according to the report. 

The Guardian's Owen Gibson added this on December 4, before the strike actually took place:

Fifa sources said the situation in Curitiba was "a mess" and suggested that it could be March or later before the stadium, which is due to stage four matches and will seat 41,456, will be ready.

That will leave organisers with little time to install facilities and could force them to put in temporary toilets and food outlets. With the draw on Friday and tickets on sale, insiders admit there is "no plan B" but insist they will not compromise on security.

Fifa and the Brazilian authorities are awaiting a report on the situation in São Paulo but remain confident the stadium will be finished in time to host the World Cup's opening match on 12 June.

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

This slip-up in preparations for next summer's spectacle is the latest in a string of unfortunate stories. A construction worker died on Saturday, Dec. 14 in Manaus, Brazil after falling 35 meters in an accident, according to Goal.com

Two weeks prior, two people died at the unfinished stadium in Sao Paulo in a stadium collapse that left massive damage at the site of the opening match, per USA Today

The readiness of the six Brazilian stadiums by the start of play has been in question, and that hit a boiling point when Brazil admitted all six would not be ready by FIFA's Dec. 31 deadline, per the Daily Mail

Gibson added more detail:

Jérôme Valcke, Fifa's secretary general who is responsible for delivering the World Cup, said on Tuesday that three stadiums – in Curitiba, São Paulo and Cuiabá – would miss the deadline of being finished by the end of the year.

The Corinthians Arena in São Paulo has been delayed by the accident last week in which two construction workers were while the Arena Pantanal in Cuiabá has also been a longstanding concern.

With less than six months separating Brazil from the start of the World Cup and plenty of work still to be done, this labor dispute could further complicate a process that has already seen plenty of bumps in the road. 

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