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Rio airport staff call partial strike for World Cup opener

Ground staff at Rio de Janeiro's three airports plan to stage a 24-hour partial strike Thursday, the day Brazil hosts the opening match of the World Cup.

RIO DE JANEIRO: Ground staff at Rio de Janeiro's three airports plan to stage a 24-hour partial strike Thursday, the day Brazil hosts the opening match of the World Cup.

The workers vowed to maintain 80 percent service, but the strike will nevertheless raise fears of delays as thousands of football fans descend on the tourist-magnet city around the opening match in Sao Paulo and first game in Rio on Sunday.

The umbrella union that represents the workers is calling for World Cup bonuses, better working conditions and raises of up to 12 percent, but says employers are offering a maximum of eight percent.

"After nine months of intense but failed negotiations and intransigence from employers, the Rio de Janeiro Municipal Airports Employees' Union confirms it will strike on June 12," the union said on its website.

Rio is one of the major arrival points for foreigners visiting Brazil.

It is a 40-minute flight from Sao Paulo, which hosts Thursday's opening match between Brazil and Croatia.

More than three million Brazilians and 600,000 foreigners are expected to crisscross Brazil during the tournament, which wraps up with the final match in Rio on July 13.

The strike will take effect at midnight (0300 GMT).

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