Isabel Camarinha in no mood for compromise

Possibility of general strike looms in Portugal

Poll shows more than 80% want further measures to combat inflation

Fresh from last Friday’s protests marking approval of this year’s State Budget, CGTP (workers’ confederations) secretary-general Isabel Camarinha has stressed that the possibility of a general strike is most definitely on the table.

With political parties of almost every hue voting against the State Budget, Ms Camarinha referred to the dangers of the PS ‘absolute majority’: it is already seeing complaints from all quarters that the government is not listening.

Talking to Antena 1/ Jornal de Negocios yesterday, she said her confederation of Portuguese workers’ unions was “against absolute majorities” for the exact same reason: “they tend not to listen to workers”.

The government’s promise when it swept back to power in January (that it would promote dialogue) has been broken, she believes, because it has presented its proposals without making “any concessions” (or, more explicitly, meaningful concessions).

CGTP has requested a meeting with the prime minister, she told reporters –  but so far has received no reply.

This is perhaps to be expected, bearing in mind CGTP demands: the confederation wants further salary increases as well as an increase in the national minimum wage, among other things, like the reduction of IVA on “certain essential goods”.

For now, the murmurings of general strike are just that. But the rest of the year is not auguring well for the government, just as the spectre of real opposition reappears. A poll undertaken by Aximage for Diário de Notícias, Jornal de Notícias and TSF Rádio, shows that 81% of people want to see ‘new measures’ to help with the gathering economic crisis. These include “limiting energy price increases, limiting increases in the cost of essential goods and reducing taxes”.

The government meantime has said it is focused on reducing the deficit, which has grown by €54 billion since PS Socialists returned to power in 2015.

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