SEF strike causes airports constraints

Immigration, borders service staff to strike over Easter period

Six-day strike to begin on April 5

Inspectors and administrative staff of Portugal’s immigration and borders service (SEF) will hold a six-day strike over the Easter period due to the way the government intends to transfer workers to other agencies as part of the long-planned extinction of the service.

The union of immigration and borders service employees (SINSEF) – which includes employees with non-police functions – has given notice of a strike for April 5 and 6.

SCIF/SEF (the Union of SEF’s investigation and surveillance staff) has also given notice of a strike between April 6-10, coinciding with the Easter weekend, which “could cause disturbances at airports”, writes Lusa.

“At stake is the integration of SEF workers into the Judiciary Police (PJ), the Institute of Registries and Notaries (IRN) and the future Portuguese Agency for Migrations and Asylum (APMA) as part of the restructuring process of (SEF), where union negotiations with the government on the draft decree-law regulating the transfer of employees are underway.

“The unions are against the form in which the government intends to transfer workers”, Lusa continues – adding that the inspectors’ union “considers the draft decree-law regulating the transfer of SEF inspectors to the PJ does not guarantee the principle of ‘equal work, equal pay’.

“In the strike notice, the union representing SEF administrative staff regrets “the time that has passed since the beginning of this merger process”, with so little for workers involved in terms of confidence over their future career prospects.

President of SINSEF, Artur Girão, explains the two-day strike is related to the way the “transfer process is taking place” and the “lack of career dignification”.

“This process is an unknown. We still don’t understand the criteria for transfer to the IRN”, he added, noting that the majority of non-police SEF workers prefer to be transferred to APMA rather than to the IRN, which will be responsible for renewing immigrants’ residence permits and issuing passports.

SINSEF also wants an “effective guarantee of the enhancement and the dignification of the functions of the non-police SEF career workers in the bodies with which they will be merged, namely APMA,” and that in the context of the new Portuguese Agency for Migration and Asylum, “conditions are created that will allow them to exercise their skills”.

As part of SEF’s restructuring – which has been delayed until the creation of APMA – inspectors will be transferred to the PJ Judicial Police, while non-police officers will be transferred to APMA and the IRN.

The restructuring of SEF “will allow inspectors to remain for up to two years at air and sea border posts, which will become the responsibility of PSP (Public Security Police) and GNR (National Republican Guard) police agencies”, Lusa adds.

There are currently around 900 SEF inspectors and 700 non-police personnel working in the service.

Source: LUSA