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Faro Labour Day protesters take to the streets with masks, gloves, and social distancing

32labour dayOn this 1st of May, as part of the traditional CGTP celebrations in Faro, music was played out of the speakers, between warnings for the approximately 100 people present to maintain social distancing measures. The Algarve’s Union of Trade Unions celebrants promised and fulfilled. Over two meters from each other and equipped with masks and gloves, a hundred union members marked Labour Day near the roundabout of Forum Algarve.

“It was extremely important to be here today, not only because of the 130th anniversary of Labour Day being celebrated, but because of the mishaps to which Algarve workers have been subjected”, António Goulart, of the Union of Trade Unions of the Algarve, told journalists.

According to the official, in addition a sharp rise in unemployment in the region’s service-sector-heavy economy, there are “thousands of workers in lay-off” and “hundreds with overdue wages”. To elaborate, the workers are, in the opinion of Mr. Goulart, “being brutally attacked”. Although there is still no official data on workers in lay-off, this will be a “very high” number, he alleges.

 “The employers of the region want the extension of the lay-off until the end of the year, that is: they want workers for many months with reduced wages”, said Goulart. “Hotel workers have very low salaries and will be paid about 635 euros, in a very difficult situation. COVID-19 had not yet arrived and we already had bosses firing workers, many of them do not have unemployment benefits”, he said.

In this vein, the Algarve has the particularity that unemployment has risen more than 40%. “There are families already feeling very bad. It was necessary to go out on the street to denounce all this and say that we are here to fight for workers’ rights, so that the drama we are going through is not put aside” he concluded.