Strike notice ensures non-teaching staff will not be pressganged into working for World Youth Day
Strike notice ensures non-teaching staff will not be pressganged into working for World Youth Day

Non-teaching staff to strike to avoid being drafted for Word Youth Day

Church has been appealing repeatedly for ‘thousands of volunteers’ which it claims are ‘still lacking’

The main trade union representing non-teaching staff in State schools in Greater Lisbon has called a strike from July 31 to August 31 in an action it claims is designed to “denounce and prevent” the forced recourse to their members to perform functions relating to World Youth Day – the massive Roman Catholic event taking place in Lisbon during that period.

Church leaders have been appealing for more volunteers to come forwards for many weeks. Indeed, they claimed not long ago to be 10,000 short of their 30,000 target. The curious aspect of voluntary duties for World Youth Day is that volunteers are expected to pay for the privilege. Thus, conceivably, the continued shortage of applicants.

Whatever the reasons, the Southern and Autonomous Regions Public and Social Service Workers Union doesn’t want to be pressganged into making up numbers. It delivered its ‘strike notice’ today, stressing that “forced recourse of non-teaching workers from public schools for functions related to the World Youth Day” would constitute an “impediment to the enjoyment of holidays in the last week of July and the first week of August that harm(s) workers and undermines the organisation of the next school year”.

The strike also aims to challenge changes in working hours “that are being imposed on workers as well as the imposition of work on weekly rest days and/ or complementary rest days“.

As part of the strike, union members aim to “prevent abusive recourse” to overtime work and demand “respect for non-teaching workers in relation to their functional content, (given that they) should be on duty for the educational community,” not used to fill-in for an absence of volunteer spirit among the nation’s religious.

Says Lusa, union members will also strike over overtime outside normal working hours, on complementary rest days and on municipal holidays between July 22 and August 8.

“The strike will also cover complementary and compulsory rest days on the weekends of July 22 and July 23, July 29 and 30 and August 5 and 6”.

Today’s strike notice covers schools under the management of the local councils of Alcochete, Almada, Amadora, Barreiro, Cascais, Lisbon, Loures, Mafra, Moita, Odivelas, Oeiras, Palmela, Seixal, Sesimbra, Setúbal, Sintra and Vila Franca de Xira) and all parish councils in the municipality of Lisbon (which is overseeing the organisation of World Youth Day).

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