Workers in Sao Paulo's death industry are striking, meaning families can't bury their dead relatives, the Associated Press reports. Brazilian custom calls for the dead to be buried within a day of death; and the strike of more than a thousand workers in the country's biggest city Wednesday meant delays in bodies being released for funerals.
Workers want 40 percent bigger paychecks and improved working conditions; they say they won't go back to work until the city meets their demands.
In 1979, gravediggers went on strike in England and the city council of Liverpool considered allowing the public to dig graves for their own relatives. At one point, 150 bodies were stored in a factory, and 25 more were added each day, the Guardian reports. Officials wondered if burial at sea might be an option. A Department of the Environment memo explained that while dead bodies could be stored in heat-sealed bags for a month and a half, this would be "totally unacceptable for aesthetic reasons."