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Six reasons why Portugal held a general strike this week

Portugal’s two main confederations held a general strike Thursday – the fourth general national stoppage in two years. Why?

Since 2011, when the government of Portugal signed up to the Troika bail out loan conditions of austerity and neoliberal ‘reforms’, this is what has happened:

  1. Real wages have fallen by 9.2%
  2. Household spending has fallen by 10%
  3. 430,000 have joined the ranks of the unemployed, which has risen to a record of 17.7 percent in the first quarter of 2013
  4. The public debt has increased by 48 billion euros, today totalling 202 billion euros
  5. More than 250,000 people, mostly the young, have emigrated
  6. Gross domestic product has fallen by 5.5%

What do the unions want?

Demands of the largest confederation, the CGTP:

  • Reject Government proposals to deepen cuts to the rights of public and private sector workers
  • Increase wages, cut taxes on employment, improve pensions, boost consumer spending that expands the domestic market
  • Increase national output to create jobs, invest in manufacturing to create wealth
  • Combat exploitation at work by reversing recent labour reforms, improving working conditions , defending collective labour agreements
  • Protect welfare for the unemployed
  • Boost tax revenues by taxing large shareholders of corporations and banks, close tax havens
  • Renegotiate the national debt, by cutting interest payments, the payment period and the outstanding debt
  • Liberate Portugal from foreign domination that condemns the people to backwardness and misery

More information: Reuters EPSU ; CGTP (Portuguese)

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope


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