Strike ends at 2016 Rio Olympic venues

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RioOlympics Reuters. Construction workers on strike protest outside the Rio 2016 Olympic Park construction site in Rio de Janeiro, April 8, 2014. Workers building Rio's 2016 Olympic Park fought with security guards on Monday but although shots were fired no one was injured in the melee, eyewitnesses said. Scuffles broke out between guards and construction workers on strike for more pay and better union representation. The workers closed several busy avenues around the site on Monday and trouble ensued.

Rio de Janeiro - Over 2,000 construction workers returned to their jobs at the Olympic Park on Thursday, ending a two-week strike that further slowed the trouble-plagued 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Rio Mais, the consortium building venues at the main Olympic cluster located 25 kilometres (15 miles) west of central Rio, said no more work stoppages were foreseen.

Workers returned briefly on Wednesday, but were encouraged to leave after a few hours by union leaders.

About 2,300 workers have been off the job since April 3, lobbying for higher wages and more benefits.

The strike added to delays in organising South America's first Olympics, which came under withering criticism last week from the International Olympic Committee.

Friday and Monday are national holidays in Brazil.

Wednesday is also a local holiday in Rio de Janeiro.

Rio organisers got a second piece of good news.

Bids for tender were let on Thursday on the long-delayed Deodoro complex of venues, the second largest cluster for Rio 2016.

Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes said he expected construction to start in the second half of the year.

Work is expected to be completed just weeks before the Olympics open on August 5, 2016.

“We have no room to spare,” Paes said on Wednesday.

“We cannot make a single mistake. But there is still time to get it done.”

Deodoro, a run-down area in northern Rio, will host events such as shooting, field hockey, equestrian, canoeing and BMX.

Some basketball games will also be there.

Rio organisers have acknowledged they are late with Deodoro, which is being built by the Rio municipal government.

Nawal El Moutawakel, the head of the IOC inspectors, said last month that “until ground is broken, Deodoro remains a project under intense pressure.” - Sapa-AP

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