By 2019-08-13 InPortugal

Conservatories ‘go slow’ for five-day strike

Conservatories and registration staff are on a five day ‘go slow’ as a result of strike action that is barely getting a mention.

But the issue is an insidious one.

Say strikers, it’s all about the government (secretly) trying to privatise a sector that actually brings in over 600 million euros per year.

Observador explains: this strike (that few will notice in the hurly-burly of the holiday stampede – tinged this year with stultifying concern about fuel) was called after MPs approved a new law which staff claim will actually reduce their pay-packets, along with their “legitimate rights and career expectations”.

The dispute involves multiple syndicates: STRN (the syndicate of registration staff and notaries) ASCR (the association of conservatories), FNSTFPS (the national federation of public and social sector workers) and SRN, the national syndicate of registrars.

For STRN, the proposal – for workers “who assure functions of the State and constitute a driving force for the whole economy, social peace and territorial cohesion”- represents an “unprecedented attack”.

For ASCR, it’s not simply about pay-scales. It’s about a chronic lack of staff (up to 1,500 people too few) and thus a system in which juridical security is being compromised “with consequences for society and the economy”.

And for the others, it’s a combination of all of the above.

In the context of a country planning its next day out to the beach, these issues will almost certainly go over most people’s heads.

And, of course, in five days the worst of it will be over.

But the chill in the wind is the question: if these services were indeed privatised, would citizens’ rights be compromised?

Last Friday, the government decreed that all workers involved in the dispute “must guarantee minimum services”, largely because SNR has set aside days for industrial action spreading out till September 30.

As a result issues involving citizens cards, birth certificates, passports etc will almost certainly be ‘held up’.

Observador stresses that the Ministry of Justice does not agree with syndicates’ interpretation that salaries are being reduced, stressing that the new law “resulted from intense work over a year and a half that included syndical structures and reflects many of the demands presented by these structures, particularly relating to salaries”.

Confused? Perhaps if you find yourselves in a ‘conservatório’ over the holidays and wonder why everything is taking so long, ask a member of staff what’s the reason, and they may explain it all to you. Alternatively, of course, they may not.

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