Support for General Strike on November 24 gathers pace

Portugal is facing almost complete paralysis on November 24 as more and more unions are showing their support against Government austerity measures and salary cuts.

Apart from the country’s two main unions which originally called the strike in October, the UGT (The General Workers Union) and the CGTP (Confederação Geral dos Trabalhadores Portuguesas), most of the civil aviation industry has decided to join the strike.

The Aviation and Airport Workers Union (Sindicato de Pessoal de Voo da Aviação Civil), which represents thousands of the industry’s workers in airports up and down the country, announced they would be joining the strike this week.

“TAP workers are joining the strike on November 24,” said José Simão for the Union of Aviation and Airport Workers after a meeting with more than 1,000 members this week.

In a press conference which brought together seven of the 10 aviation sector unions, the union leaders admitted fresh strike action in the future.

“We are prepared and available for the strikes necessary to maintain salaries and working conditions,” said Cristina Vigon of the National Union of Civil Aviation and Flight Personnel (Sindicato Nacional de Pessoal de Voo da Aviação Civil)

As to the redundancies of 336 Groundforce workers at Faro Airport, the unions believe that there might be a way out after a meeting with the Prime Minister José Sócrates this weeK.

Independent Presidential candidate and health humanitarian Fernando Nobre has declared his total support for the strike after a meeting with the Secretary-General of the CGTP, Carvalho da Silva.

The founder of AMI (Assistência Médica Internacional) said that he was “with the strike as a citizen exercising his civic rights” and that as a presidential candidate he “could only adopt an attitude of calling on and supporting the people in their struggle for a better life”.

Francisco Lopes, presidential candidate for the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP), said he hoped that the strike would be a “great success”. 

The unions state that falling purchasing power, lack of social protection, poverty and salary cuts as well as increasing unemployment and insecure working conditions are behind this General Strike.

Other unions which have confirmed that they will join the strike next week include the ASAE (catering and restaurants), unions representing RTP journalists (Sindicato das Jornalistas and Sindicato dos Trabalhadores das Telecomunicações e Comunicação Audiovisual), the Retailers Union (Sindicato dos Trabalhadores do Comércio Retalhista), Fishermen’s Union (Sindicato dos Pescadores) and the Bankers Union (Sindicato dos Bancarios). C.G