Opposition to public service reforms

THE GOVERNMENT intends to alter the working hours of civil servants, making it possible for public service staff to work part-time hours in return for a reduced salary. The measure, included in a document issued by the government, does not convince the sector’s unions.

“Since 1999, civil servants have been able to opt to work part-time but, up until now, almost no one has chosen to do this because it implies a reduction in their pay packet at the end of the month,” points out Paulo Trindade, member of union Frente Comum de Sindicatos da Administração Pública.

In the document, the government states that it intends to make a revision in ranks and wage levels as well as in problems concerning working conditions. But unions are claiming that the document is vague and that they are unaware of the details.

Bettencourt Picanço, president of union Sindicato dos Quadros Técnicos do Estado, emphasises that the measure does not solve anything and only serves to irritate workers even further. “Problems are not going to be resolved by staff doing less hours nor by giving them more holidays,” states Picanço, referring to another measure devised by the government, which consists of giving more holiday days to civil servants aged over 60, as a way to compensate them for the new pension and retirement rules.