Portugal: Public sector workers demand return to 35-hour week

Public sector workers went on strike throughout Portugal in March to demand the return of the 35-hour week.

The strike, the second in four months, was called on 13 March 2015 by the Common Front of Public Administration Unions (FC), affiliated to the General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (CGTP).

Workers were also protesting about wage cuts, new rules on lay-offs (also known as the law of re-qualification), the destruction of the welfare state and public services, and the weakening of collective bargaining.

Workers from two trade unions affiliated to the General Workers’ Union (UGT) – the Trade Union Front of Public Administration (FESAP) and the Technical Civil Servants’ Union (STE) joined the protest.

FC coordinator Ana Avoila said:

It is necessary to put an end to salary cuts, the freezing of careers and the law of re-qualification and it is necessary to fight for the return of a 35-hour week and against the destruction of the welfare state. It makes no sense that the government maintains an austerity policy on public administration, when the programme of financial assistance is over and when the Ministry of Finance has announced it anticipates the repayment of the loan.

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