A supplementary budget was passed by the Portuguese parliament on July 3, Friday, intended to boost spending by EUR 4.3 billion (USD 4.83 billion) during the COVID-19 crisis. The bill introduced by the ruling Socialist Party (PS) was opposed by the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP), with major opposition parties abstaining.
As per the PCP, the government’s supplementary budget is a “plan on the side of big business – because it denies workers what it gives to business groups. Salary cuts continue, which leads to a worker, at the end of 2020, earning two or three times less than the salary they should receive. There is still the possibility of redundancies. There is still no 20% remuneration supplement for essential service workers. In contrast to this, tax incentives are created to benefit business groups and promote the concentration of capital.” The party said public resources had not be channeled to help save many micro and small businesses that face difficulties.
“Workers are denied [steps] in terms of wages and in defense of their jobs. What is lacking is the response to micro and small entrepreneurs to ensure their survival.. what is lacking is social protection to deal with the dramatic situation that hundreds of thousands of Portuguese face. Everything is denied, is lacking when it comes to the response to workers’ problems, but everything is scandalously provided to support business groups,” according to the PCP.
Prior to the vote on July 3, Joao Oliveira, member of the Political Committee of the PCP’s Central Committee, said that the party would vote against the supplementary budget. He said it was an instrument that would deepen inequality and injustice in the distribution of national income between capital and labor.
In the course of the parliamentary discussions on the budget, the PCP made more than 50 proposals regarding different sectors, but only nine of them were approved and one was partially approved. The rest of the proposals were rejected by legislators from the PS and the major opposition parties, including the Social Democratic Party (PSD).