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Portugal Workers Stage Strike for Quicker end to Austerity

By on January 27, 2016

LISBON, Portugal – Portugal’s new Socialist government is facing its first strike, with one of the biggest public sector trade unions saying its members will walk off the job to force a quicker rollback of austerity measures.

The center-left minority government, backed by the Communist Party and radical Left Bloc, is restoring labor entitlements lost after Portugal’s 78 billion-euro ($85 billion) bailout in 2011, even though national debt remains high.

The government has approved a return to the civil servants’ traditional 35-hour working week, down from the current 40 hours, but only from July.

The Common Front, which represents about half the country’s more than 600,000 government workers, said Wednesday the change must be sooner. It said its members will strike Friday.

The government is already restoring civil servants’ pay that was cut.

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