By Zjan Shirinian

Most of São Paulo's metro network was crippled by the five days of strike action ©LatinContent/Getty ImagesSão Paulo's metro workers have returned to work after five days on strike, but insist they will walk out on the day the city stages the opening World Cup match if their demands are not met.

They want a pay rise of 12.2 per cent, but the company which employs them is offering 8.7 per cent.

Despite suspending their strike today, they say it will resume on Thursday (June 12) - when Brazil play Croatia at the Arena Corinthians - if negotiations break down.

The strike has led to major disruption across the city with roads gridlocked.

With its World Cup stadium on the outskirts, any strike action is likely to lead to chaos for people with tickets to the tournament opener.

It is understood the union which balloted for strike action will meet tomorrow to talk about its next step.

Dismissal notices have already been sent to staff alleged to have been involved in strike-related disturbances, but the union insist those notices must be withdrawn.

Yesterday, police and metro workers - who were protesting around Ana Rosa station in the centre of São Paulo - clashed.

Tear gas was used to disperse the hundreds of people who had gathered.

The disturbances came after the labour court ruled unions had abused their powers in calling the strike, and the metro company had acted "in good faith".

Arena Corinthians, on the outskirts of the city, will be challenging to get to if the metro network is suspended ©AFP/Getty ImagesArena Corinthians, on the outskirts of the city, will be challenging to get to if the metro network is suspended ©AFP/Getty Images

With just two days until the World Cup begins, any further protests could overshadow the start of the tournament.

The Arena Corinthians is due to host three other group games during the World Cup, with Uruguay playing England on June 19, 2010 runners-up The Netherlands facing Chile on June 23, and South Korea against Belgium on June 26.

It is also scheduled to play host to a round of 16 clash on July 1, and one of the two semi-finals on June 9.

The Brazilian Government has launched its largest mobilisation of armed forces, using 30,000 military personnel to patrol its entire 17,000-kilometre national border ahead of the World Cup.

It is due to run until July 13, with games in 12 stadiums across Brazil and the final at Rio de Janeiro's Maracanã.

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