Five days to go before the World Cup kicks off in Sao Paulo, but underground workers there have just voted for a third successive day of strike action, deepening the city’s traffic chaos.
Brazilian police are scrambling to maintain order and the government is desperate to avoid transport problems during the event that was supposed to put Brazil well and truly on the map.
Transport workers claim their salaries are not enough to live in one of the world’s most expensive cities, and are holding out for a 12% pay rise. An offer of nearly 9% has been rejected. The city’s 4.5 million commuters who use the subway now have to crush onto overcrowded buses.
“Nobody can make it to work, the subway’s not running, the buses are crowded, it is chaos. There is no way to get to work,” said one woman.
Scenes of long queues at stations and bus stops may deter some tourists from making the trip to Brazil for the World Cup, but for the authorities the greater nightmare is if the strike continues into the tournament, when the tourists have already arrived.