Pre-pandemic, this was the result of SEF simply being understaffed at Faro airport... photo: Huw Pendleton

SEF strike at Portugal’s airports: ANA warns passengers ‘waiting times’ will increase

It is described as a ‘partial strike’, but borders agency SEF’s work to rule starting in all Portugal’s airports tomorrow is certain to cause upsets.

ANA airports authority has already warned passengers to expect “waiting times to increase” – meaning queues are likely to become an issue, if not a major irritation, for the next two weeks.

Yes, SEF’s latest industrial action is set to run for the next fortnight: the peak of the holiday season that has taken so long to get going.

Airports most affected will be Lisbon, Porto and Faro, although Funchal, Porto Santo and Ponta Delgada in the archipelagos of Madeira and Azores are unlikely to escape.

ANA’s alert today stresses that it “will do everything” in its power to “mitigate constraints caused to passengers” whom it thanks in advance for their “comprehension and collaboration”.

Advice: anyone travelling beyond Schengen space should make sure they get to the airport with a lot of extra time for check-in and passport control.

This latest industrial action is all part of SEF’s ongoing battle with the government which insists on disbanding the service (click here).

The matter has become a running sore in which SEF’s molten fury has been directed at minister for interior administration Eduardo Cabrita, a man who has himself been described as “a large political abscess” (click here).

A source for SEF’s inspectors syndicate has explained that Mr Cabrita said that a document to give the terms under which members’ rights would be assured in their transfer to one of the country’s three police forces would be ready by the end of June.

“Up till now, that document has not reached this syndicate”, said the source, adding that no-one from the ministry has had the attention to detail to explain why.

Writes Diário de Notícias, the syndicate says the minister has led this process with opacity and lack of consideration. There has been a “patent lack of good faith” in a restructuring process that represents the government’s “clear intention to extinguish this police service” just for the reason that it can.

Given its position “which continues to refuse to clarify the future for SEF’s professionals, we can only resort to protesting through the legal means at our disposal”, explained the syndicate.

The work-to-rule will involve inspectors ‘downing tools’ (meaning not working) for two hours of every shift.

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