PORTUGUESE WORKERS DEMAND GOV’T ACTION VS UNEMPLOYMENT
Portuguese workers protested on Saturday to demand better salaries and governmental action on employment protection during the COVID-19 pandemic, teleSUR reported.
The General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (CGTP) organized and convened peaceful demonstrations to demand that the government to raise the minimum salary from 635 euros to 850. Participants maintained social distance and wore masks. “Workers’ rights are increasingly being stolen. Fear over the pandemic cannot result in our rights being taken away,” said Anabela Vogado, from trade union CESP.
Portugal’s unemployment rate increased by more than a third, compared to the same period last year, as the European nation exceeded the figure of 400,000 jobless people in August. The demonstrators decried government partiality with companies, which they say takes priority over the protection of workers. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Prime Minister Antonio Costa has delayed business tax-payments and has granted loans to firms to alleviate economic damages.
“Why is there so much money to support (companies) with investments and moratoriums, and then there is no political courage to stop the workers from being fired?” said worker Luis Batista, who participated in the protest. As of Saturday, Portugal registered 72,939 COVID-19 cases, 1,944 deaths, and 47,380 recoveries from the virus.
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