Portugal travel hit by mass strike


A general strike in Portugal is disrupting travel as unions fight government austerity measures adopted in return for a 78 billion euro (£67 billion) bailout.

Authorities are cancelling dozens of international flights, and commuters are trying to get to work without regular bus or train services. The Lisbon subway has also stayed closed.

Officials say they expect government offices, medical services, school classes, mail deliveries and rubbish collection to be affected.

Portugal's two largest trade union confederations, representing more than one million mostly blue-collar workers, are fighting government tax hikes and cuts in pay and welfare entitlements.

The jobless rate has risen to 12.4 % amid a double dip recession.

Meanwhile international ratings agency Fitch downgraded Portugal's debt to junk status due to its high debts and poor economic prospects.

Portugal was moved down one notch, to BB+ from BBB-.