On Saturday, November 20, thousands of workers demonstrated in Portugal’s capital Lisbon as part of a national mobilization called by the General Confederation of the Portuguese Workers (CGTP), the largest trade union federation in the country. The CGTP called for the mobilization to demand an increase in salaries, an end to precarious job conditions, reduction of working hours, and defense of collective contracts. Progressive political parties including the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP), Left Bloc and Portuguese Communist Youth (JCP) expressed solidarity with the workers and participated in the mobilization.
The Portuguese working class has been demanding an increase in the national minimum wage to 850 euros (USD 954.97) per month. As of now, the minimum wage is only 665 euros (USD 747.13) (14 payments in a year) or 700 euros (USD 786.45) (12 payments in a year), which reports suggest is likely to be raised nominally in 2022. It was in such a context that the national executive of the CGTP met last month and decided to go for a national mobilization. On Saturday, workers reiterated their demand for an increase in the minimum wage. They also demanded an additional raise of 90 euros (USD 101.11) per month for all workers.
The CGTP stated that “workers from all sectors of activity will bring to the streets their concrete demands in the fight for the improvement of their living and working conditions, demanding the valorization of work and workers and a policy that guarantees a better future, in a developed country, which dignifies those who work and produce wealth.”
While participating in the national mobilization on Saturday, PCP general secretary Jerónimo de Sousa said, “It’s a great demonstration on an important day of fighting for the value of work and workers, particularly the valuation of wages as a fundamental issue, such as a national emergency, alongside other rights that have been called into question, and that workers using that experience and the phrase that ′”rights defend themselves by exercising” here are exercising that right to proclaim the national demand for salaries valuation, timetable regulation, the valuation of collective bargaining.”
The Left Bloc stated that the Socialist Party-led government in Portugal continues to keep the troika in the labor code, promoting insecurity and low wages. “But there is no recovery in the economy without alteration of industrial relations. Low and medium wages need to be strengthened!”