90% of service points closed as many staff kept in dark over extinction process
Adhesion to the strike of administrative workers of Foreigners and Immigration Service SEF closed about 90% of service points nationwide today, a spokesperson has told Lusa.
The non-police employees began a two-day strike following a meeting with the government that ended on Monday “without agreement”.
Said Artur Girão, president of the SINSEF union of foreigners and borders service employees: “I believe that 90% of the posts are closed, and the few that are open are understaffed”.
According to the union, adhesion to the strike is “within expectations” since it is still uncertain where many of the staff will work when SEF’s long-announced ‘extinction’ comes into effect later this month.
At stake is the integration of SEF workers into PJ judicial police, the Institute of Registries and Notaries (IRN) and APMA, the Portuguese Agency for Migrations and Asylum which is taking over from SEF’s immigration processing side.
“Let’s hope that in tomorrow’s cabinet meeting, the APMA law – which we are told will be approved – thinks about the workers and the immigrant community. It’s very easy for the government to say that immigration is strategic for the country, but it has to reflect this on the public services that provide an immigration service, namely with the workers that deal with documental issues”, he added.
“We want to have better conditions to receive (immigrants), and this is what we expect (APMA) to bring (…) For a percentage of workers, the future is uncertain. They don’t know where they will work”, he stressed.
The union claims that, after three meetings with the government, delegates have still not seen final documents of the extinction process, hence today’s strike which extends till the end of Thursday.