Traffic fines “amnesty” starts today as police down tools over government “intransigence”

Drivers may be able to breathe a lot easier for the next five weeks as police throughout Portugal mount a form of “work-to-rule” over what they term “government intransigence” over the establishing of new statutes.

Meant to have been ready by the end of July, the statutes were promised when the coalition government came to power four years ago, but “small alterations” demanded by police over early-retirement and working-hours have consistently fallen on deaf ears.

Thus the work-to-rule is designed to put pressure on the Interior ministry, union leader João Ramos has explained.

Its instant effect will be to drastically reduce money pouring into State coffers every day.

The hole could be as much as €8 million, explains the nation’s media, using calculations based on the €48.9 million raised in six months from road traffic infractions so far this year.

Ramos told RTP news this morning that police will be concentrating on their “pedagogic” duties and turning a blind eye to the more repressive practice of issuing fines.

At no point, he assured, will public interest be compromised.

The action, supported by four police syndicates, is expected to run through to the end of September, with other police demos planned up and down the country.

As international media has already pointed out, Portugal is being assailed by a “crush of labour demands” in the run-up to the October 4 elections.

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