World Cup stadium workers threaten strike over safety concerns

BY Kayla Ruble  February 8, 2014 at 3:33 PM EST
Workers surround an ambulance as a 55-year-old Portuguese worker is rushed to hospital after being seriously injured when a piece of iron fell on his head when disassembling a crane, at the Amazonia Arena in Manaus, northern Brazil, on February 7, 2014. The 42,000 arena, which will host four matches of the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup, has been beset by problems during construction including the deaths of two workers.  Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Workers surround an ambulance as a worker is fatally injured while dismantling a crane at the Amazonia Arena in Northern Brazil on Friday. Workers are threatening to strike because of safety concerns. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Workers at a World Cup stadium being built in the Brazilian city of Manaus are threatening to strike after a 55-year-old Portuguese man was killed while dismantling a crane at the arena on Friday.

The worker, Jose Pita Martins, was the third person to die in a construction-related incident at the Arena de Amazonia stadium, and the seventh worker killed at one of the 12 new arenas being built for the 2014 World Cup.

“We have to guarantee the workers’ rights and their safety,” union leader Cicero Custodio told Brazilian news media, according to the Associated Press. “Nobody will get in on Monday.”

Already behind schedule, a strike could delay completion of the stadium with just months left before the tournament begins.

Organizers say the Arena de Amazonia is 97 percent complete.

Amazonas state Gov. Omar Aziz had initially planned to announce an inauguration date for the venue on Friday, but he canceled his appearance due to the deadly accident.

Martins reportedly died from multiple head and chest injuries.

The secretary General of FIFA took to Twitter to send his condolences to the worker’s family.

The first construction-related death in Manaus occurred in March, followed by a second death in December after a worker fell from the roof.

All 12 stadiums were slated to be completed at the end of 2013, but there are still six venues that need to be finished before the tournament begins on June 12.