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Postal strike as CTT announces salary cuts, branch closures and reduction of 800 jobs over next three years

Postal service unions have called a strike for Thursday and Friday following the announcement by CTT bosses that a fall in ‘mail traffic’ must lead to sweeping change.

Already announced are salary cuts, branch closures and the reduction of 800 jobs over the next three years.

But pressure now is on the State which has vetoed left-wing proposals to ‘renationalise’ the Post Office on the basis that the quality of postal services are being forever sacrificed to the altar of profits.

Earlier this week, the government guaranteed however that it would “asses” CTT’s contractual responsibilities to ensure they were being met – something detractors see as a ‘chink of light’ in the gathering storm as it should be fairly easy to prove that they aren’t. Staff numbers are well down on levels agreed to, according to Bloco de Esquerda MP José Soeiro.

In the meantime, frustrated workers have agreed to down tools for a pre-Christmas push towards improved conditions.

The strike will start to bite this (Wednesday) evening, say unions, as “various groups of workers start their Thursday shifts at the Cabo Ruivo mail treatment plant in Lisbon at 10pm and 11pm this evening.

Union boss Fernando Ambrioso says he hopes for “strong adhesion”, but that the actual distribution of mail should not suffer too many problems.

“People will notice the effects in the distribution of Correio Azul (express post)”, he told reporters, explaining that normal post is already well behind schedule.

One of the objectives of the strike is to get the population discussing what it wants from its postal service, he said “and this has already been accomplished”.

TV and radio stations have been hosting phone-ins where people can say how they feel about the situation while for the next two days at least the likelihood is that national branches will not be opening for business, and will thus remain closed until after Christmas.

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