World Cup workers go on strike again

RIO DE JANEIRO - World Cup construction workers at the Maracana went on strike on Thursday for the second time in two weeks after elements of a pay accord reached to end the first stoppage were not met, they said.

"We had the promise of an increase in our basic wage and we haven't received it so far. Also important to the workers is the inclusion of family members in the health plan," director of the construction workers' union Luiz Fonseca told reporters.

Two weeks ago labourers refurbishing the giant stadium for the 2014 World Cup went on strike after a colleague was badly injured in an on-site explosion. They demanded higher pay, better security and family health care.

The group in charge of the work, scheduled to be completed by the end of next year and in good time for the 2013 Confederations Cup, said talks with the union had stalled.

"The consortium believes there is no motive for the present stoppage and informs it will go immediately to the Labour Tribunal to get the strike declared illegal and order a return to work," it said in a statement.

There are 2,000 men working at the stadium that will stage the World Cup final and may also host the opening match of the tournament.

The estimated cost of renovations was reduced by 72 million Brazilian reais to 860 million on Wednesday on the orders of a federal body that controls public spending after the value of some services, equipment and materials was queried.

The previous estimate was one billion reais.