“All work and no play” – Portugal stays stripped of national “feriados”

Their removal from the working calendar was designed to increase productivity, but as a media source considers today “it is difficult to know whether the measure was worth it”. One thing is certain: the four Bank Holidays axed in the name of austerity won’t be coming back in a hurry.

The PSD/CDS majority voted on Friday against five opposition bids to revive the popular days off – October 5 (Republic day), November 1 (All Saints), December 1 (Restoration of Independence) and the delightfully mobile “Corpo de Deus”, which fell on different days every year.

As Negócios Online points out, Portugal is now among the European countries that work the longest hours and have the least number of Bank Holidays.

Ironically, voting took place on the same day that the Bank of Portugal released data from December to show economic activity in Portugal dropped for the fifth consecutive month.

Thus the original idea that these high-days stopped Portugal achieving its true potential has come in for widespread criticism. Indeed, it looks more and more a case of “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Certainly a grim-faced boy.

As former CDS leader Nuno Magalhães – one of key movers in the fight to restore December 1 to the holiday calendar – told Público: “Neither Portugal or the Portuguese deserve to see one of the most important national holidays treated like this.”

The four holidays were axed in 2012 by the same PSD/CDS coalition that today voted against their return.

By NATASHA DONN [email protected]