The government has announced a civil requisition of SEF airport staff to ensure the strike threatening to ‘ruin the summer’ cannot go ahead.
Breaking the news this afternoon, interior minister Eduardo Cabrita said the measure had been requested by the regional government of Madeira and various heads of tourism. But it was fundamentally taken “with national security in mind, and the safeguarding of obligations of the Portuguese State”.
The minister who has been a loggerheads with SEF for months called strike plan “unacceptable and irresponsible”.
“It is a strike threatening national security, and inadmissible in the context of calamity”, he said (referring to the fact that Portugal is still in what is called ‘A State of Calamity’).
SEF’s industrial action would have been something that “attacked expectations of economic recovery” and would have seriously undermined Portugal’s “responsibility to monitor the EU’s external borders”, he added.
SEF’s syndicates have not yet reacted to the news, but it will come as a huge relief to tourism entities everywhere – not least the Algarve, which had itself called for a civil requisition (click here).
Since writing about the possibility of the strike, scheduled to start on June 1, the Resident has received dozens of emails from people from varoious countries clearly concerned travel plans to Portugal would be plunged into chaos. They won’t: in this situation at least sanity appears to have prevailed.