Feb 1 (Reuters) - Construction workers’ strikes at Brazil’s World Cup venues continue to plague preparations for the 2014 showpiece with the northeastern city of Salvador hit by a stoppage in demand of improved wages on Wednesday.
The Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador is also short-listed as a venue for the Confederations Cup, a World Cup dress rehearsal held a year before the finals, and needs to be ready in good time for the June 2013 tournament.
FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke praised Salvador on their preparations only two weeks ago on a tour of Brazil, but workers are unhappy with deals made between venue cities and the consortiums building or refurbishing World Cup stadiums.
The Brasilia, Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro venues were all hit by strikes earlier in their preparations.
In Recife, another World Cup host city in the state of Pernambuco, workers have been on strike for a week despite the building consortium’s claims that wages are up to date as agreed by both parties and that annual pay negotiations are not due until August.
“The stoppage, considered illegal by the Arena Pernambuco Consortium, has been compromising the works schedule since last Wednesday,” the consortium said in a statement.
Meetings between workers’ leaders and consortium managers have failed to reach agreement.
The participation of Salvador and Recife in the Confederations Cup is subject to approval by world soccer governing body FIFA and Brazil’s local organising committee. The decision is scheduled to fall in June.
Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Fortaleza have already been confirmed for the eight-nation tournament in 2013, which involves the champions of FIFA’s six confederations, plus hosts Brazil and reigning World Cup holders Spain.
Reporting by Tatiana Ramil in Sao Paulo; Writing by Rex Gowar in Buenos Aires; Editing by Ian Ransom