Maracana workers end strike

RIO DE JANEIRO - Construction workers refurbishing the Maracana stadium for the 2014 World Cup finals have ended their strike for better conditions, their union and the consortium in charge of the site said on Monday.

The workers went on strike last Wednesday after a colleague was badly burnt and suffered leg injuries when an oil barrel with chemical residue exploded on site.

Their union said the consortium in charge of the work agreed to most of the workers' demands including improved security and pay.

"We're satisfied, that's why we've returned to work today," union leader Romildo Vieira told Reuters.

"Negotiations ended like this: the health plan will be only for the workers [at first] but we're going to look into the possibility of extending it to their families.

"The deadline to finish the work on the Maracana is December of next year. The days of stoppage won't delay the work. If necessary we'll work more hours," Vieira added.

He said there could be up to 3,000 men involved in the work over that period of time. At present there are 2,000 working in three shifts.

The work on the stadium, set to hold Confederations Cup matches in 2013 and expected to stage the World Cup final a year later, are estimated will cost about one billion reais ($630 million).