Forty-four workers of Litográfica do Sul – “one of the biggest employers in Vila Real de Santo António” – protested outside the printing business last Friday after learning they will not be receiving their March salaries.
The company is on the verge of bankruptcy and has told workers that unless money comes in soon, it will close down.
Already in negotiation with the government revitalisation programme PER, bosses are understood to have told the workforce that salaries for April could also be affected.
According to Lusa news agency, employees only learnt of the crisis when they found a notice from Olhão court affixed to the business’ front door last Wednesday.
Lusa claims Litográfica do Sul continues to receive orders but doesn’t have the money to keep its machinery going.
Thus over 100 people – workers, union representatives and members of the PCP and BE political parties – protested in front of the company’s HQ before being granted a meeting in which they were told that they will have to wait until Thursday (April 2) for an update on whether or not the company can keep going.
According to Lusa, workers have been told to wait at home but union representative António Hilário has urged them to keep showing up for work.
Ermelinda Ramires is one of the longest-serving members of staff, with 43 years having been spent in the company.
“There was always work for us here,” she told reporters. “And that is how we want it to stay. We have exported millions of labels for beer and water bottles to Mozambique, Angola and Madagascar,” she added. “None of us want to end up unemployed.”
Litográfica do Sul was founded in 1948, and specialises in printing labels, books, magazines, posters and ads. In its heyday, it is said to have employed over 150 people.
According to António Hilário, the next few days are crucial. “There is the tiniest of lights at the end of the tunnel,” he added.