Police, nurses, teachers and public administration workers have all announced upcoming strike action across Portugal, threatening to grind the country to a halt.
Not sure how much this will affect Madeira, but any updates I will place on the blog.
PSP and GNR police unions have stated that they will be holding monthly protests until the government responds to their demands.
The protests are set to begin on 21 January at the League Cup ‘Final Four’ in football in Braga, and will also take place in front of the Ministry of Finance in Lisbon and at a location yet to be designated in Faro.
The president of the Association of Police Professionals (ASPP / PSP) also said that there were several proposals put forward by police for the monthly protests, including a proposed handing over weapons.
Paulo Rodrigues from the union stressed that police have “reached their limit”.
Among the demands of the police is the payment of a risk allowance, updates to salaries, an increase in staff and a call for better personal protection equipment.
There will also be a strike by the Zero Movement (MO), another group of PSP and GNR officers that was created in May 2019, which is also calling for wage and working conditions improvements.
MO have scheduled strikes and protests to also take place on 21 January at the airports of Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Funchal and in certain areas of the Azores by personnel related to airports.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MAI) has assured that PSP and GNR’s multi-annual admissions plan will include contributions from unions and associations of these two security force, however the unions claim that they have not had the full details of this yet.
Later in the month it will be teachers on strike as the teachers’ union Fenprof has called for a national strike of educators and teachers for 31 January, in reaction to the proposed State Budget for 2020 (OE2020), which the union says sidelines education.
The union said that they regretted that the OE2020 does not reflect greater investment in the education sector, which will continue to have many unresolved problems in 2020.
“This area remains financially stagnant after a decade in which public funding has been reduced by 12 percent”, said a statement for the union.
In addition to the lack of reinforcement of school budgets, Fenprof points out how the budget continues to ignore teachers, particularly with regard to the accounting of length of service and other career problems, the retirement system, “abuses and illegalities” in working hours and the issue of salaries.
In addition to the national strike, Fenprof has called a demonstration for the same day, joining the Public Administration protest in Lisbon.
The Federation of Public Administration Unions (Fesap) announced a national strike on the 31 January also against the proposed 2020 State Budget (OE2020) which it considers to be “offensive” and “unacceptable” with its provision of wage increases of 0.3 percent.
The protest was announced by Fesap leader José Abraão at a press conference in Lisbon.
“Fesap rejects the idea that the 2020 State Budget proposal is closed before the global final vote to take place on 6 February and will substantiate workers’ demands for actions that include, among others, the strike for 31 January,” said a statement from the union.
José Abraão told news agency Lusa that “this is going to be a big strike”, which includes “all workers in the public administration”.
The Portuguese Nurses Union (SEP) has also called a strike in hospitals and primary health care units in the Algarve for 24 January.
At a press conference, SEP regional coordinator Nuno Manjua accused the Algarve University Hospital Centre (CHUA) and the Algarve Regional Health Administration (ARS) of having “failed a set of commitments” in writing that should have been completed by the end of 2019.
“There are nurses who have not had any career progress for 18 years, which means that nurses will continue with exactly the same salary they have at this time,” said the union.
According to the union leader, CHUA has failed to commit to matching nurses with individual employment contracts to those with public employment contracts and, in the case of ARS / Algarve, the commitment to account for working time prior to salary adjustment.
“We are satisfied with our part, which was to convene these two days of strike, the institutions did not comply with their part to move forward with what was written,” he said, adding that the problem is a national one.
Guadalupe Simões, from the SEP national directorate, said: “We cannot continue this fallacy, where the Prime Minister and [Finance] Minister Mário Centeno say that in terms of wage bill all Public Administration workers, including nurses, had an increase of 3.2 percent, when there are 20,000 nurses who have not progressed in their careers,” he concluded.