Firefighters put government on notice
The League of Portuguese Firefighters has put the government on notice.
With still no clear picture of the promised ‘new paradigm for wildfire combat’ it has said that unless it gets answers to firefighters’ demands before the end of the month (February 28) corporations will be “withdrawing support” from forest wildfire combat and ensuring that “no firefighter commander participates in structures of the National Civil Protection Authority”.
It is a final desperate attempt to discover what the government is expecting of career firefighters for 2018 and whether or not they will be treated in the way they feel they deserve.
Demands have been reduced from 30 to 10, says the league, but these now need answering in the affirmative.
Punchy association president Jaime Marta Soares has stressed that his members will always defend citizens “to the limits of their strength” but that they refuse to be “crutches for the government.
“We know that without us it is simply not possible to respond to emergency situations where people need protection.
“Either the government accepts this or it will have to answer to the Portuguese people for the levity of its proposals”.
Firefighters demands focus on being able to better help populations, said Soares.
“We are part of the cheap workforce that is highly qualified”, he stressed.
Observador reports that in December the league gave the government 45 days to decide various proposals for the reforms it believes are vital.
It wants autonomy and independence for firefighting corporations and the green-light for the creation of 250 specialist teams of primary intervention.
As national media explains, at a time when plans need to be made for this year’s firefighting force, “the entire sector is unsure of what will be required of Portuguese firefighters and what the ‘profound alterations’ that have for so long been announced will actually mean”.