“We have schools closed, we have percentages between 60% and 70% at the level of educational assistants and there are also high percentages of adherence with regard to hospitals and health centers”, said Catarina Marques, coordinator of the União de Algarve trade unions.
The union leader spoke of a “symptom of general dissatisfaction” among public administration workers, which “already existed and has increased” with the “brutal increase in the cost of living, the price of essential goods and services, inflation and unemployment rates, interest on home loans”.
“Workers are starting to see that, even working, they cannot meet their expenses and, for that reason, they are struggling and do not accept inevitabilities”, maintained Catarina Marques.
Called by the Common Front of Public Administration Unions/CGTP-IN, the strike this today has as its central demands the immediate increase in wages for all workers; strengthening public services; the enhancement of career advancement and the repeal of the integrated management and performance assessment system in Public Administration (SIADAP), as well as price control of essential goods and taxation of extraordinary company profits.
At the end of the morning, the Faro, Portimão and Lagos units of the Centro Hospitalar Universitário do Algarve (CHUA) recorded services “practically stopped and others [stopped] at 100%”, according to Sónia Lopes, from the Portuguese Nurses Union.
“We have more crucial services that are closed, others with only minimal care. Medicines, surgeries, orthopedics are only ensuring minimal care”, he pointed out, indicating that the operating theaters had only emergency teams and the outpatient surgery units were also closed.
In the Basic Emergency Services of Loulé and Albufeira, adherence to the strike was 100%, he added.
In the Algarve, the participation of nurses in the civil service strike was around “practically 80%, [an adhesion] very clear in relation to the dissatisfaction” of these professionals, he underlined.
In the education sector, Lígia Martins, from the Union of Teachers of the South Zone, revealed that the D. Afonso III School and the São Luís School, both in Faro, as well as the Silves Sul Grouping (JI de Tunes, Armação de Pêra, Pêra and EB1 de Tunes e Pêra) were closed.
The union leader denounced that some teachers “were coerced by some directorates to perform minimum services for a strike that did not have them”.
“We are aware of directors who went to all the members of the school groups to carry out precisely this coercion. From Monday, we will survey these situations that we consider irregular and that violate the worker's freedom to strike and we will act accordingly”, he stressed.
Rosa Franco, leader of the Union of Workers in Public and Social Functions of the South and Autonomous Regions, also warned of the same situation in relation to educational action assistants.
“Many of them are prevented from going on strike. We were not called upon to provide minimum services, therefore workers should not be providing minimum services. We are upset, we are denouncing the situation. We have some schools operating due to this situation”, he declared.
For his part, Bruno Luz, from the Union of Local Administration Workers, said that the strike in Algarve municipalities “will be around 75%”, drawing attention to a problem that “is already beginning to be seen” in the councils.
“There are workers [in local authorities] who, at this moment, are no longer able to feed themselves, who are asking their colleagues for help in order to be able to feed themselves. The government has to look at these workers as worthy people and not just another number. (...) The salaries that are practiced today in Portugal in public administration, in local administration, leave empty bellies”, he said.
Strike leaves hospitals at a standstill in the Algarve
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