Faro airport queues
A ghastly reminder of the misery of early morning strikes last May...

New airport strikes loom for Portugal

May, June strikes scheduled by borders, immigration inspectors

The trade union of Portugal’s investigators, inspectors and border guards (SIIFF) has announced several strike periods from May 20 for Portugal’s main passenger airports: Lisbon, Porto, Faro and Madeira.

At stake is uncertainty about the future of SEF inspectors (those attached to borders and foreigners service currently under a ‘restructuring’ process).

SIIFF delivered two pre-strike notices today that will take place in May and June, one for Lisbon airport and the other for Faro, Porto and Madeira airports, as well as for remaining border posts.

According to these ‘pre-announcements’, delivered on the day the interior ministry announced plans to reinforce the operational capacity of Portuguese airports during the summer period due to the increase in passengers, the stoppage at Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado airport will take place between 5:00am and 10:00am from May 20-22, May 27-29, June 3-5, June 10-12, June 17-19 and June 24-26. (These hours coincide with the majority of international flight arrivals. Early morning strikes in the past have resulted in complete chaos in the already struggling terminal.)

At remaining airports and border crossings, namely maritime, strikes will take place on May 22 and 29 and June 5, 12, 19 and 26.

In the strike notice, SIIFF recalls that the approval of the decree-law (restructuring SEF) resulted from collective negotiation between the government and unions representing workers with the aim of discussing the transition from the extinct SEF investigation and surveillance career to the criminal investigation career of the Judicial Police (the country’s main criminal investigation agency).

“From the mentioned negotiation, no commitment between the parties resulted that reflects the issues discussed and decisions taken by the government.

“What is certain is that, to date, the content of the approved decree-law is unknown, as is any timetable that would allow us to determine the dates for the implementation/operation of this entire process”, says the union.

SIIFF considers that “more than three years after the government made known its intention to abolish SEF, it is unacceptable that CIF/SEF workers continue to be confronted with this climate of uncertainty and relegated to a total lack of knowledge about their futures”.

In the face of “this lack of definition”, and until the government deigns to make known the decree-law approved by the Cabinet and present, “with the necessary degree of certainty, the timetable for the implementation of the transition process of CIF/SEF workers”, the union says there is “no alternative but to demonstrate deep indignation, through the use of all means provided by law”, including strike action.

Source material: LUSA