New public sector strikes threatened as workers reject ‘insulting’ pay increases

New public sector strikes threatened as workers reject ‘insulting’ pay increases

Public sector workers are threatening new forms of strike action as talks on pay increases seem to be getting nowhere.

Isabel Camarinha, the new secretary-general of the CGTP – Portugal’s largest trade union – has described what’s ‘on the table’ as ‘insulting’.

“I guarantee there will be a new Public Sector strike”, she told reporters over the weekend.

Camarinha – voted in to her new position on Saturday and the first woman ever to have headed the union – says: “Workers feel insulted by the increase” which works out for the lowest pay grades at an extra of just seven euros per month.

Higher pay grades are likely to receive even less, explain reports – describing increases of between two and three euros a month.

Tabloid Correio da Manhã claims there are moves afoot by some to return their increases, in protest to what has been offered after a decade in which pay and progression through the various public sector services have been ‘frozen’.

José Abraão, secretary-general of Fesap – the federation of public administration syndicates – stressed that the bulk of workers won’t get any kind of pay increase, as their pay grades are above the ‘minimum wage’ sector and therefore not included in the government’s ‘package’ for 2020.

FESAP is pushing for pay increases of 2.9%, says Correio da Manhã, “but will accept 2.7%”, while other syndicates like STE want 3%.

The ‘Frente Comum’ union is gunning for a 90 euro increase across the board.

Minister for Public Administration Alexandra Leitão has said that there is a certain degree of wriggle room – but how much will depend on negotiations due to go ahead today.

Explain reports, the ‘insulting’ pay rises on the table will already cost the government 87 million euros for 2020.

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