Waste collection strike in Portimão saw up to 90% participation

The strike called by STAL took place between Friday, August 4 and Monday 7.

The four-day strike by waste collection and urban hygiene workers in Portimão had up to 90% participation last Friday and around 70% on Monday. However, the workers’ demands remain unanswered, said a union source.

The Algarve’s coordinator for the National Union of Local and Regional Administration Workers, Public Companies, Concessionaires and the like (STAL), Bruno Luz, said that the “strike saw great support” but regretted that the “pressure” exerted by the company had led workers to do double shifts and had lessened the effect of the strike.

Questioned about the effects of the strike, EMARP, the municipal company that manages the collection, treatment and disposal of urban waste and urban hygiene in Portimão, whose City Council holds 100% of the share capital, indicated that the strike had “19% participation and the affected services were the special services for the collection of bulky and green waste; ecological island and container washing; weed cutting and mechanical sweeping”.

The strike called by STAL took place between Friday, August 4, and Monday, August 7. The waste collection and urban hygiene workers ask the administration to comply with the “demands booklet”, approved in a plenary meeting, highlighting “immediate measures” for improving wages, “such as revising the salary table, updating subsidies and recovering length of service”.

At the same time, it demands the restitution of the 35-hour week, the elimination of the designated “bank of hours”, the fight against precariousness and respect for functions.

But the company argued that “the strike was scheduled after a meeting with company officials in which it was communicated to the union that EMARP maintains an open path for dialogue”.

The company considered, however, that as this was “the most demanding time in terms of operational issues, as a result of the seasonal nature of tourist destinations par excellence”, such as the Algarve and Portimão, “negotiations should take place in October” and cover “amendments to the Company Agreement, which, except for clauses of a pecuniary nature, under the terms of current legislation, can only be amended from September”.

“In this regard, it is important to mention that, in May of this year, EMARP adopted the principles that guided the extraordinary increase applied to public administration, whose effects retroacted to January of this year. However, it was the understanding of that organisation to move towards scheduling a strike, which is why, being a constitutionally guaranteed right, we limit ourselves to respecting the option taken without prejudice to maintaining full availability for dialogue”, the company also said.

The union leader said that, on August 4, participation was “between 85 and 90%”, but on Monday, it will have been around “around 70%.” He said that the company had “great difficulties in collecting” the waste “because there were few workers and the few there were subjected, in many cases, to working two shifts”.

“As there is no open negotiation on the company’s part, the objectives were not fulfilled. But today, the workers gathered in front of the Town Hall and declared themselves, once again, available for every possible type of battle. We are not saying that we are going to schedule another strike, but every form of battle is open and on the table”, said STAL’s coordinator in the Algarve.

The same source also criticised the company’s stance during a picket held on Friday at the company’s door, where collection lorries enter and leave, talking of workers being subjected to “intimidation”.