strike notice on school gate

Public service strike brings Algarve to near halt

Yesterday’s strike by public administration workers had a significant turnout, with 90% of schools without classes and health services “completely paralysed”, according to the Frente Comum Trade Unions.

“We are seeing a huge response to the public administration strike. We have concrete data from schools showing around 90% adherence. We have data from health services indicating around 60/65% adherence, and between 50% and 90% in local administration, in services linked to municipal councils and in tax and court services”, summarised Catarina Marques, coordinator of the Algarve Trade Unions, yesterday morning outside Faro Hospital.

The union leader highlighted the significant adherence to the strike and considered it a fair fight since the Government’s proposals for the 2024 State Budget “do not correspond to the problems of workers”.

The document focuses on “the low wages policy, the complete deregulation of wages” and also denotes “a continued disinvestment in public services and social functions of the State”, pointed out Catarina Marques.

Speaking yesterday, Ana Simões, leader of Southern Portugal’s Teachers’ Union, assured that, in the Algarve, “around 90% of schools do not have classes” and that “close to a hundred” establishments are “completely closed”. “There are no classes from kindergartens, 1st, 2nd and 3rd cycle schools and to secondary schools. (…) We expected that strike participation would be high, and it’s being confirmed”, she noted.

As for public health services, Sónia Lopes, the Portuguese Nurses Union leader, assured journalists that there was “strong strike support” from these professionals, “with services completely paralysed” at Faro Hospital.

Outpatient surgery saw “100% adherence”, with 11 scheduled surgeries postponed. Inpatient services also saw complete adherence – although providing minimal care – and operating theatres had “strong adherence”, with surgeries being postponed.

The union leader also highlighted adherence to the strike at the Basic Emergency Services in Loulé and Albufeira and the South’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Centre in São Brás de Alportel.

Rosa Franco, leader of the Public and Social Functions Workers of the South and Autonomous Regions Union, reported that, in the health sector, workers’ participation in the Algarve was around 80%, with an impact on operating rooms, external consultations, and clinical exams.

“The impact is also noticeable in Social Security services, particularly in Portimão. The courts are only operating for urgent services, and in higher education, several services at the University [of the Algarve] have joined the strike. In general, the strike’s impact in the region can be seen”, she highlighted.

Yesterday’s national workers’ strike was announced by the Common Front of Public Administration Trade Unions (CGTP) on October 9 in response to the Government’s proposal for salary increases in 2024, which they consider to be “miserly”.

The 2024 State Budget foresees a minimum salary increase of €52 or 3% for public administration workers, while the Frente Comum demands an increase in wages of at least 15%, with a minimum of €150 per worker, to face the “brutal increase in the cost of living”.