View from Portugal: Strike adds to plunging confidence
Thursday 25 November 2010
Tired of paying the price for the country's financial troubles, hundreds of thousands of Portuguese workers walked out on strike yesterday in protest against government plans to raise taxes, freeze pensions and cut public sector salaries. Factories halted production, trains sat idle, schools closed and air traffic was grounded at Lisbon's airport in Portugal's largest general strike for 22 years.
The strike, led by the nation's two major unions, representing 1.5 million people, comes as the Socialist Prime Minister Jose Socrates attempts to restore investor confidence in the country with a second round of deficit-reducing measures. As its bond ratings take a beating, the Portuguese government is trying to escape the fate of Greece and Ireland, where debt crises led to near financial collapse and bailouts. But Portuguese workers fear the austerity measures will fuel unemployment and hurt the poorest sectors of society, who are forced to pay the price for investor jitters.
"It's the workers who are paying for the crisis, not the bankers nor the shareholders of big companies," Leandro Martins, a 65-year-old pensioner, told Reuters.
"People are outraged by the injustice," a trade union leader, Manuel Carvalho da Silva, said.
That anger stopped 80 per cent of the country's trains running, all of Lisbon's metro lines, and nearly 45 per cent of health workers stayed at home.
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...
£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...