On September 26, Saturday, workers in Portugal under the leadership of the General Confederation of the Portuguese Workers (CGTP) organized massive demonstrations across the country to highlight the growing concerns among the working class. Their demands included an increase in wages and pensions, protection of collective bargaining, repealing of burdensome rules in the labor code, job security, and a 35-hour work week.
Mobilizations were organized in Lisbon, Setubal, Porto, Faro, Castelo Branco, Braga, Aveiro, Beja, Portalegre, Evora, Coimbra, Guarda, Santarem, Leiria, Vila Real and Viana do Castelo, among other cities. Workers participated in the protests while adhering to the COVID-19 safety protocols. The CGTP has demanded a general increase in wages by 90 euros (USD 105.37) and reiterated its demand to raise the current National Minimum wage (SMN) of 740.8 euros (867.29 USD) to at least 850 euros (USD 995.14) per month.
Earlier, the CGTP leadership said, “If SMN evolved in line with productivity and inflation since 1974 (the year in which it was implemented), it would have a value of 1,137 euros (USD 1331.14) by 2020. This is a situation to bear in mind, as academic studies state that the adequate income required to live with dignity in Portugal should correspond to a net salary of EUR 1,149 euros (USD 1345.19) per month.”
After the protest, the CGTP stated, “Saturday’s mobilization was a success as it had counted on the presence of thousands of workers, young and retired, men and women who with great determination and confidence gave public expression to the denunciation, indignation and revolt against the political options that continue to put aside the valorization of work and workers.”
The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) expressed its solidarity with the workers’ mobilization. PCP cadres and leadership participated in the demonstrations across the country. In November last year, Secretary-General of the PCP and Assembly of the Republic member, Jerónimo de Sousa, also demanded in the assembly that the government immediately raise the minimum wages to 850 euros (995.14 USD).