CGTP marks State Budget vote with mass demo

As cost of living crisis starts to bite, confederation warns ‘this is just the beginning’ 

Portugal’s Confederation of Workers (CGTP) is marking the day PS Socialists approve the 2022 State Budget with a mass rally outside parliament.

This is just the start of a “period of struggle over the worsening conditions of everyday workers’ lives” (thanks both to galloping inflation and failure of salaries to keep step), explain reports.

Today (Friday) is the moment PS Socialists will approve the 2022 State Budget – seven long months and a national election since its first draft was vetoed. This time, the vetoes won’t count: the PS has an absolute majority, and can forge ahead with its ambitions.

The “Action of National Stuggle” (as today’s demo is being called) takes place under the theme “For an increase in salaries and pensions – against the increase in the cost of living and attack on (workers’) rights”.

It begins mid-morning in Lisbon, while another rally will be going ahead in Porto.

CGTP secretary general Isabel Camarinha is expected to “hold a politico-syndical intervention” outside parliament over the government’s refusal to accommodate union demands.

As SIC television news has explained, at the beginning of May, the CGTP’s national council called in vain for immediate measures to restore workers’ purchasing power. Since then economists have attested to the average losses to those on minimum wages. The government’s refusal to concede any margins has seen the confederation plan ‘a month of activities in all sectors’ designed to continue pushing for redress.

“The moment demands the intensification of the struggle process in order to obtain extraordinary results that are increasingly needed due to the constant increase in prices”, Ms Camarinha has told Lusa.

This is not simply a struggle for updated salaries, she added, but against the rising increase in inequality, social injustice and poverty.

The CGTP has long been advocating an increase in the minimum wage to €800 by July 1 this year; increases of at least €20 a month for pensioners (who will only be receiving half that in the new budget, albeit backdated to January 1 this year) and across the board increases for all salaries to ensure they recover the money absorbed by inflation.

The government’s mantra that inflation is cyclical has all but disappeared, but still it insists that it cannot increase salaries until next year.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com