Portuguese workers fight for their rights

This is a Portuguese video on the general strike of today.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Portugal paralysed by 24-hour general strike

Thursday 22 March 2012

by Our Foreign Desk

Portgual’s largest trade union confederation staged a 24-hour strike on Thursday in defence of workers’ rights and against EU-mandated austerity.

The Lisbon underground, which carries more than half a million passengers every weekday, was closed.

Train, bus and ferry services across the country were few and far between. Long traffic jams built up on roads into key cities, though arrivals and departures at Lisbon airport were not affected.

Some secondary schools sent children home because teachers and auxiliary staff stayed away.

Health services postponed or cancelled medical appointments and government departments shut their doors or were short of staff.

Tens of thousands of trade unionists and their allies rallied in the centre of the capital in the afternoon.

The General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (CGTP), which represents 700,000 employees, called the 24-hour stoppage to fight policies enacted by the government of PM Pedro Passos Coelho in return for last May’s €78 billion (£65bn) bailout from the so-called troika – the EU, IMF and European Central Bank.

The Coelho administration has locked the country into a three-year programme of pay and welfare cuts and tax increases.

Unions are particularly angry over a reform to the country’s labour law that waters down workers’ rights and reduces severance pay.

The Coelho reform also enables bosses to impose “flexible” timetables and reduce holidays and overtime rates.

The policies have kept the economy mired in recession for a second consecutive year and pushed the official unemployment rate to a record 14.8 per cent.

CGTP general secretary Armenio Carlos has warned that the wave of austerity could result in many workers having their pay packets slashed by up to 25 per cent.

Mr Carlos, who is a member of the Portuguese Communist Party‘s central committee, applauded members on Thursday for honouring the action.

It was “a warning to the government that workers require the abrogation of the labour reform, which aims to convert labour into a mere commodity and workers into objects.”

UGT, the second-largest union confederation, did not back the general strike. But Mr Carlos said that it was for “all workers” regardless of their union affiliation.

See also here.

Austerity – Blunder of Blunders: here.

10 thoughts on “Portuguese workers fight for their rights

  1. Some 15,000 demonstrate against sheltered workplace cuts

    Thursday 22 March 2012

    Some 15,000 people gathered close to parliament in The Hague on Thursday to protest at government plans to reduce spending on sheltered workplace schemes for the handicapped.

    The government is planning to transfer responsibility for sheltered work schemes to local authorities and merge funding with the special incapacity benefit for youngsters.

    Some 100,000 people currently do paid work in special centres for the handicapped, but the government wants to cut that total to 30,000.



  2. Kenny wants EU referendum

    IRELAND: Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny says his government will announce a date for Ireland’s referendum on the European Union fiscal treaty on Tuesday.

    The treaty lays down new neoliberal spending and deficit rules for members of the 17-country group that use the euro as their currency.

    The pact will become law next year if at least 12 of the 17 eurozone governments manage to approve it through the national parliaments.

    Ireland is the only member requiring a national vote.



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