Portugal’s security forces picket country’s airports

 Part of series of protests ahead of World Youth Day

World Youth Day – the largest event in the Roman Catholic calendar – is expected to promote Portugal in the eyes of the world, thus the decision by various unions to hold protests in its name in the hope that awareness of their particular struggles is amplified.

This is happening today in the country’s principal airports that will see “several unions and associations in the internal security sector” staging “awareness-raising actions” to challenge their current working conditions.

The initiatives have been organised by the Permanent Coordinating Committee of Trade Unions and Associations of Professionals of the Security Forces and Services (CCP). They begin with ‘concentrations and the delivery of leaflets’ on their conditions, to be held at Lisbon, Porto and Faro airports and at Gare do Oriente (Monday and Tuesday), in addition to the seaport of Lisbon (on Wednesday).

“We will be concentrated in these places in some periods of the morning and afternoon and, with the people who arrive in our country, convey to them what the security forces feel, the disregard they feel on the part of the government, what is at stake and what are the demands that are common to each structure”, César Nogueira, president of the Association of Guard Professionals (APG / GNR), told Lusa.

Nogueira stressed that priority issues for the country’s security forces and services include changing remuneration statutes and discounts for health subsystems, but there are other “transversal problems, namely, lack of staff”, which he described as “flagrant and comprehensive” and which will almost certainly be felt more visibly during World Youth Day – a week long jamboree which is expected to attract well over a million young people to Lisbon, particularly over the days in which the Pope will be visiting.

“We know that many professionals will be mobilised to the Lisbon area from other parts of the country. Every day it is already difficult for professionals to reach all situations due to lack of staff, logically it will be more difficult, because there will be thousands of professionals who will be moved to Lisbon “, warned Nogueira, who is also national secretary of the CCP.

He explained that professionals within Portugal’s security forces and services are “tired” of political platitudes without any kind of real action, vowing “protests will not end” when World Youth Day is over.

“Actions will not stop with World Youth Day, because we know – not least because we have been doing this for many years – that we have to be persistent,” he said, stressing two union structures have already convened all-out strikes for this week.

“The other structures cannot strike, but we will be at the sites”, particularly on August 2 when President Marcelo meets with the Pope in Belém Palace.

Says Lusa, the CCP includes the APG/GNR, the Trade Union Association of Police Professionals (ASPP/PSP), the Socioprofessional Association of the Maritime Police (ASPPM), the National Union of the Prison Guard Corps (SNCGP) and the Trade Union Association of ASAE Employees (ASF-ASAE).

Source material: Lusa