Portugal dawned rail isolated Thirteen unions of the regional and national train network they are doing a 24-hour strike on Friday that is having an almost absolute follow-up by public employees. The day of protest coincides with the strike of the prison officers and comes a day after the nurses' strike, which forced thousands of surgeries to be postponed. Meanwhile, the dockworkers of the port of Setúbal, which prevents the arrival of parts to the main automobile factory in the country, continues. From north to south and from east to west, Portugal is a pure strike for months, which citizens suffer in silence and resigned.
The Arbitral Tribunal of the Economic and Social Council does not see the need to implement minimum services for a strike "One day barely" and "having other alternative means of transport". The decision of the TA has been criticized by the mayor of Lisbon, the socialist Fernando Medina: "The right to strike has to be combined with the minimum rights of the people. That decision puts in cause one of the most elementary rights of the people, the one of the mobility ".
Railroads, nurses, doctors, judges, firemen, jailers and teachers have been mobilized all year (and already announce more stoppages for the next). Behind their protests there are ten years with frozen wages and deteriorated or very congested public services, especially after the Government reduced working hours in public office from 40 to 35 hours per week. In sectors such as the judicial or health, the reduction has not come hand in hand with new hires, so they have increased waiting in hospitals and courts, with the consequent discomfort of citizens and professionals who serve them .
At 9 o'clock in the morning unemployment was absolute in the regional and national trains and only some urban services of Lisbon and Oporto circulated, in addition to the goods. The strike had its impact on road transport. In the access roads to the big cities there were more than usual retentions, especially in the routes from Sintra to Lisbon and from Gaia to Oporto.
The reduction of the working day in Health and Justice, without increase of employees, has collapsed basic public services
If today trains stop, yesterday were the senior diagnostic technicians and nurses, who in a single day caused the postponement of more than 2,600 non-urgent operations, apart from medical consultations. In total there are already more than 5,000 surgeries postponed since the protest began. Tuesday and Wednesday will continue and another six days interspersed until December 31 inclusive. They demand an improvement of the salary table and the unfreezing of the promotions.
The "unfreezing of the promotions", which was implemented during the years of the crisis is key in the protests. In the case of teachers, with more strikes called than school days, your union demands that you recover the nine years in which your promotions were frozen. The Government offers only three and, although it has been ordered by the Parliament to continue negotiating, it does not seem that it will increase its offer much. If it does, behind the professors the policemen, the firemen, the military and other professionals of the civil service will be knocked on the door to those who also had those nine years of work annulled for the purpose of progressions in the career.
In the case of the prison guards their strike will be extended until the 23rd. They also ask for the defrosting of the races, more officials and more salary. Their protest also brings about that of their prisoners, who have carried out small riots – burning of paper and mattresses – because they see that they are left without Christmas family visits.
The judges have also signed up for the strike calendar on discontinuous days. On Wednesday they completed their eighth day of the 21 scheduled for this year and the next. On the 19th, the professional firemen will begin two weeks of work stoppages because, according to their union, they feel they are the worst paid in the public service.
Apart from the employees with an insured salary, the longshoremen of the port of Setúbal have been striking for 33 days. The powerful union SEAL It demands that the temporality of many of its workers be ended. The port is semi-paralyzed, the police have had to intervene so that theactoria Autoeuropa could embark the production of cars and there have been vandalism against vehicles of port employees who do not join the strike. They are the only incidents in the wave of strikes that has ravaged the country since October.
On top of the sectoral public unions is the powerful General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (CGTP), Labor arm of the Communist Party, which on the one hand supports the Government and on the other encourages the protests against it. It's the last winter before the general elections on October 6 and PC Y Block of Esquerda, the two parties that support the socialist government, throw all their resources to prevent the Socialist Party is raised with the absolute majority, as some surveys project.