SEF strike called off at 11th hour after union and state broker deal

Portuguese border officials have called off a 48-hour strike that was scheduled for today and tomorrow (click here) after brokering a deal with the government at the last minute.

The news came late last night after a three-hour meeting between border union bosses and the Minister of Internal Administration.

“It’s a relief for the country,” Constança Urbano de Sousa told reporters after the meeting.

The two-day walkout, prompted by demands for more staff and resources, was expected to cause huge queues at airport passport controls at a time when scores of holidaymakers are travelling in and out of Portugal.

But a breakthrough in negotiations saw the SEF union boss opt to call off the planned strike.

As the minister explained, the state agreed to hire 100 new border control officers next year, which will “implicate a big effort in terms of budget”.

SEF was demanding 200 new officers but described the deal as the only one that was viable at the moment.

“We had the interest of the country and national security in mind,” said SEF union boss Acácio Pereira.

He admitted that the threat of strike prompted the state into action, as the process had been stuck in limbo “for some time” in the Ministry of Finance.

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