Jobs at risk in plan to close youth hostels

Plans to close around 40 youth hostels (Pousadas da Juventude) by the government have been contested by the opposition, which questions the legality of procedures to lay off workers.

The PCP Parliamentary Group demands that the process to close the youth hostels is suspended and jobs secured.

Pousadas da Juventude are 80% funded by the State through the Instituto Português do Desporto e Juventude and run by Movijovem.

In a letter to the government, the communists ask the Minister Assistant to Parliamentary Affairs Miguel Relvas about the legality of lay-off procedures in place and what measures are needed to ensure the viability of Movijovem.

The PCP accuses the government of “promoting unemployment”, “destroying public services”, denying youngsters access to leisure facilities (at reduced fees) and accelerating the desertification process in the hinterland, where the hostels are often located.

The political group says the measure was announced by the government last August. However, the government has since reiterated that hostels will be temporarily closed only during the low season, when occupation is often very low. Twelve Pousadas are currently closed until March 14.