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Teachers’ pay crisis increases PM’s power

Published on 07/05/2019

Prime Minister, António Costa, has faced down last week’s threat to his administration with opposition parties backing off from a full-battle over teachers’ pay that triggered a political crisis last week.

The fading opposition means Costa’s socialists look stronger still in advance of the European elections.

Costa said last Friday that his minority government would quit if MPs backed a proposal to compensate teachers for their nine-year pay freeze which would cost the treasury around €800 million a year.

Opposition parties aligned themselves with the Left Bloc to threaten Costa’s Socialist Party but realised they might well lose badly in a general election.

Despite the climbdown, the PM attacked the centre-right parties who were largely responsible for introducing austerity measures before the Socialists came to power in 2015 and started to ease them off.

Under the socialist administration, Portugal has undergone a period of economic growth while and has cut its budget deficit.

Teachers and other public sector workers have been hoping deals to compensate for pay freezes.

“A government that does not respect the teachers really has no future,” Mário Nogueira, leader of the main teachers’ union, wrote on Monday in Público.