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Portugal faces general strike against austerity

Published on 17/10/2011

Portugal's main union leaders called Monday for a general strike after the centre-right government announced a tough new austerity budget.

Manuel Carvalho da Silva, secretary general of the CGTP union, said after a meeting with his UGT counterpart Joao Proenca, “We have decided to propose a general strike to the leadership of the CGTP and the UGT.”

“The date, the form and other details will be decided soon,” he added.

Proenca slammed the budget, to be submitted to parliament later Monday, saying, “These measures will not get the country out of the crisis, but will worsen poverty, unemployment and inequality.”

In a televised address Thursday, Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho revealed the broad lines of a tough austerity budget for 2012, which he said was needed to tackle what he described as a “national emergency”.

The measures are one of the conditions of a 78-billion-euro EU-IMF bailout for the country agreed earlier this year.

On Saturday tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Lisbon to protest against the austerity programmes of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

The last general strike in Portugal took place on November 24 last year against the policies of the then socialist government of Jose Socrates to resolve the country’s financial crisis.