AP Sports Writer
CURITIBA, Brazil (AP) — World Cup workers in the southeastern Brazilian city of Curitiba protesting at unpaid wages briefly stopped traffic on Friday outside the stadium where four games will be played.
More than 50 workers launched the impromptu strike at the Arena da Baixada by gathering in front of the offices of football club Atletico Paranaense, where about two dozen aggrieved cleaning company employees cut off traffic for about 15 minutes.
A representative of the Brazilian club eventually coaxed the workers off the street and into a meeting.
Neither FIFA nor Atletico Paranaense, which plays at the Baixada, would comment when contacted by The Associated Press on Friday.
Workers had previously protested over salaries owed in April, when more than 100 employees also disrupted traffic before returning to their positions.
Cleaners involved in the dispute were involved in last-minute touch-ups being applied to the Arena da Baixada, which hosts its first game on June 16 when Iran plays Nigeria.
“This is the third time there is a problem over unpaid wages,” said Mauricio Pedroso, 56. “And it’s too bad because the construction is almost over.”
The Arena da Baixa will also host Honduras-Ecuador on June 20, Australia-Spain on June 23 and Algeria-Russia on June 26.
FIFA had worried about the state of the venue until recently, warning officials the stadium had reached “a critical point” in February because of construction delays.
But Atletico Paranaense’s home stadium looked on the verge of being ready on Friday. Landscaping was being carried out while a FIFA welcome banner was draped across the front of the stadium.
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