Strikes have little effect

Strikes have had little impact on Portugal’s economy in recent decades, Portuguese government representatives happily told foreign investors on a recent roadshow for sovereign debt issues.

According to a Ministry of Finance document, Portugal is the third least-penalised country, out of a group of 17 countries, when it comes to “working days lost to strikes in the period between 1990 and 2008”. The document was published on the online portal of the IGCP – Portugal’s Treasury and Debt Management Agency, which falls under the Ministry of Finance remit.

The figures, which are part of an extensive 87-page document, were presented by the Portuguese authorities during a roadshow abroad to sell public debt (before January 23, when Portugal returned to the sovereign debt market).

Portugal was promoted to foreign investors as a “socially cohesive and stable country” and as far as strike impact is concerned, the economy loses on average “only” 10% of a working day per person engaged in a strike.

Establishing a comparison with other countries, losses to strikes in Luxembourg and Cyprus were virtually nonexistent, however in Spain the impact was greater with 2.5 working days lost per person on strike, followed by Italy with close to two days lost.

The IGCP also remarked on the success of the EU/IMF Financial Assistance Programme, which is led by a PSD/CDS-PP majority governing coalition, resulting in favourable implementation processes.

Foreign investors participated in force when Portugal returned to the debt markets on Wednesday, January 23, with the sale of €2.5 billion in five-year debt. A consortium of banks placed the debt with mainly foreign investors.

At the time, President of Portugal Cavaco Silva had said that a continuation of the process would be decisive to the recovery of investment, growth and employment.

“The success of Portugal’s return to the international debt markets reflects the improvement in the country’s external credibility, which I have witnessed in my foreign contacts,” he told Lusa news agency.