Portugal: Economy is booming again, but workers are toasting

Portugal: Economy is booming again, but workers are toasting

In Portugal, demonstrations continue in both the public and private sectors.

Salaries there are still among the lowest in Europe despite the economic recovery.

Growth at 2.3 % of GDP in 2023, a budget surplus of 1.2 % of GDP and an unemployment rate of 6.6 %. This data from the Portuguese economy is receiving praise in Europe. But there is the other side of the scene, the dark one, which has been compounded since the economic and social crisis that was born in 2009, and is even more present since the austerity plan imposed by the International Monetary Fund in 2011, which had a significant impact on workers for many years. As a result, if foreign investments and tourists now return to the country, salaries are close to rock-bottom levels.

Purchasing power at half mast

Nearly a quarter of the population receives the minimum wage of €820 net (an increase of 7.9) % last January) over a period of fourteen months. Teacher salaries have been frozen since 2008. The National Institute of Statistics lists 5 The percentage of workers who work two or even three jobs to make ends meet.

According to CGTP-IN, the oldest trade union federation, three out of four employees work on short contracts, with an average salary of 888 euros compared to 1,078 euros for long-term contracts. The union also estimates the loss of household purchasing power at 5.5 % since 2021.

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No wonder mobilization has increased in recent months. In October, civil servants organized a 24-hour strike in all sectors. Nurses followed them in November and December. Railroad workers closed the stations in February.

Caregivers noticed minimal service back in March. Even journalists (private sector) turned off their screens for 24 hours on March 14.

The government had planned to increase between 3 % and 6.8 % for public service employees in its 2024 budget is insufficient for unions which are currently demanding 15 The increase rate is for everyone and is not less than 150 euros. Early legislative elections led to the formation of a new government that was installed in early April. It remains to watch the decisions he makes.

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About the Author: Irene Alves

"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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