Jul. 01, 2020 Unions organising in state administration in both Spain and Portugal have raised serious concerns about the approach to telework and particularly governments taking the opportunity to regularise arrangements that were only adopted on an emergency basis. While there is recognition of the potential benefits to work-life balance, unions argue that fundamental issues need to be addressed through collective bargaining in relation to working time, the right to disconnect, provision of equipment, health and safety, training, contact with the workplace and the voluntary nature of the decision to telework.
May. 29, 2020 The STAL municipal services union has negotiated an agreement with the AMBILITAL inter-municipal waste company that provides for an extraordinary allowance of 300 euros for all workers and guarantees to protect the incomes of workers subject to containment measures during the COVID-19 outbreak. The union sees these as essential measures to address the current emergency and reflect STAL’s longstanding aim to achieve greater recognition of the arduousness nature of the work in the sector.
Mar. 05, 2020 The FESAP and Frente Comum federations of public sector trade unions are planning strike action on 20 March in protest at the pay increase implemented by the government which is worth only 0.3% for most workers. The FESAP federation is also planning a number of other initiatives including testimonies of individual workers about the difficulties they face as a result of the long-term pay freeze and low increases that they have suffered. These will be sent to the government. A national action is also planned for 19 March and conference on the future of the public service on 30 March.
Feb. 03, 2020 With a national protest and strike action trade unions demonstrated their anger with the government's offer of what is effectively a 0.3% pay increase for public sector workers this year. Trade unions are calling for a significant increase after years of pay freezes and for a strengthening of collective bargaining.
Jan. 20, 2020 Unions across the public sector will be mobilising on 31 January in protest at the government's failure to offer a decent pay rise for 2020. Unions in both the Frente Comum and FESAP public service federations have rejected the offer of a pay increase of 0.3% as totally inadequate after effectively 10 years of pay freezes. The Frente Comum unions plan a national demonstration on the day with a key demand for a flat-rate EUR 90 increase. FESAP unions are planning a one-day strike. EPSU sent a solidarity message.
Dec. 18, 2019 Members of the STAL trade union took strike action on 12 December in the Tratolixo inter-municipal waste company that covers four local authorities near Lisbon. Meanwhile STAL members in the Resinorte and Resiestrela waste companies (part of the EGF group) are planning strike action on 26 and 27 December. In both cases the union is pushing for respect for collective bargaining, an increase in pay and improvements in working conditions. At Tratolixo the demands include implementation of the 35-hour week, 25 days' annual leave and an allowance to take account of risky and onerous working conditions. In the other companies STAL is looking for a pay increase to cover lost purchasing power and measures on career development.
Nov. 20, 2019 Non-teaching staff in the education sector, members of the public service unions in the CGTP confederation, will be taking strike action on 29 November. Their main demands include an end to the recruitment ratio that restricts the number of new recruits when workers leave the service, an overall increase in staffing, measures to reduce precarious employment and improvements to pay and career progression.
Aug. 06, 2019 The Frente Comum group of public service unions has set out its key demands for negotiations next year, many of which focus on restoring pay and benefits cut as a result of austerity. The unions want a minimum wage of EUR 850 a month. They also want to see an unfreezing of career progression, reinstatement of cuts to overtime and other measures relating to annual leave, pensions, compensation for occupational accidents and diseases and action on precarious employment. A complete return to the 35-hour week for all public service workers also remains a central demand.
Jul. 25, 2019 The Frente Comum group of public service unions has criticised the government for failing to respect existing collective bargaining arrangements in the public sector. The government has put forward reforms to public sector pensions without going through the proper procedure for consultation. Instead of negotiating directly with public sector unions the government will use a social dialogue forum that includes private sector employers. The Frente Comum unions are concerned about the impact of the proposed pension reforms which could reduce rights for workers to retire from 60 with 40 years' service, for example.
Jun. 20, 2019 The SINTAP public services union has organised a 24-hour strike in public hospitals for 28 June. The dispute is over the failure of the employers to implement the collective agreement negotiated a year ago covering workers on individual contracts, the main aim of which was to bring them in line with public employees. The main demands of the strike include: unfreezing career progression for all workers; creation of a career as an auxiliary health technician; wage increases for all workers; increased staffing; the payment of unpaid overtime hours and the creation of a single employment contract. EPSU sent a solidarity message.
May. 28, 2019 The SINTAP public services union and other unions in the FESAP federation are taking strike action on 30 May in protest at government plans to change the career structure for workers in a range of state inspectorates. These cover inspectors dealing with social security, working conditions, national resources and other services. The unions argue that the changes will leave some workers worse off, looking at as much as 10 years without a promotion or pay increase. They say it will hamper career development, making it almost impossible to reach the highest grades. The unions' view is that it would be better to stick with the current arrangements.
May. 16, 2019 Local government union STAL and other unions in the public sector Frente Comum took part in a major national demonstration on 10 May as part of their long-running campaign to improve pay and working conditions in the public services and reverse the cuts imposed as part of austerity measures. Along with higher pay and better pensions, the unions want to see clear commitments to improve career progression and action on working time.
Apr. 17, 2019 The STAL and STML unions representing firefighters organised a protest in Lisbon on 16 April outside the Interior Ministry. The main concerns for the unions are about government proposals to reform the career structure for firefighters and to reduce retirement benefits. Other issues relate to payments for oncall time, 12-hour shifts and implementation of a pay structure that the two unions negotiated with the ministry. The unions have been frustrated by the government's reluctance to negotiate, delaying and then postponing a meeting due on 2 April.
Mar. 28, 2019 Non-teaching staff at schools across the country took strike action on 21-22 March with support increasing on the second day and many schools closing. The unions are calling for action on low pay noting that with the recent increase in the minimum wage new workers are now often earning as much as staff with 20 years' service. The unions want to see a proper career structure put in place and measures to reduce precarious employment in order to recognise the contribution that these workers make to the education system.
Feb. 28, 2019 Public service unions report very high levels of support for the national strike action on 14-15 February. All sectors of the public services were affected and this gives strength to the unions' claims to end the 10-year pay freeze and to address a wide range of other issues including career progression. Meanwhile, in relation to a separate action the SEP nurses' union has condemned the government for using its power of civil requisition to end a strike. The union argues that this is an excessive measure that undermines the right of healthworkers to take action and will, in any case, do nothing to resolve the dispute. Information on the right to strike in Portugal is now available in the new EPSU-ETUI series of country factsheets.