Wave of disputes and strikes set to continue into November
The months of October and November mark the return of a wave of protests, with the strike of pre-hospital emergency technicians beginning last week, and extending from health to education, including firefighters and the civil service throughout November.
The first of the strikes was of pre-hospital emergency technicians, on Friday, who are demanding a review of their career and better working conditions.
A week later, between October 28th and November 2nd, the National Health Service pharmacists will strike, demanding the ‘completion of the pharmaceutical residency’, improving the ability for career advancement and for review of the salary status.
Soon after the pharmacists’ strike ends, it will be the nurses’ turn to start a two-day strike, on November 3rd and 4th, contesting the “complete lack of dialogue” by the Ministry of Health to hear their demands.
They are stating that the 700 million euros to strengthen the Portuguese National Health System (SNS) provided for in the proposed State Budget for 2022 will only be used well if the areas for which this budget increase will be allocated are ‘on the table’.
The nurses’ unions say that the strike will be limited to two days, due to the awareness that union structures have of the consequences for SNS patients.
On November 5th, the national strike of teachers and educators begins, called by the National Federation of Teachers (Fenprof) and the National Federation of Education (FNE), on the same day that the Minister of Education, Tiago Brandão Rodrigues will be in parliament for debate the proposed State Budget for 2022 (OE2022).
The union structures say the strike is directly associated with OE2022, which they claim ignore the sector’s problems, namely, issues that affect the teaching career and also non-teaching workers.
Two other teachers’ unions have also called strikes for the same day, such as the Association of Licensed Teachers and the National Union of Education Professionals.
On November 11, for two days, it will be the turn of professional firefighters, who will go on strike in protest against the proposal of OE2022, which they say has ‘forgotten about’ them.
Professional firefighters demand salary increases, a risk subsidy equal to that of the security forces (100 euros a month), regulation of the entire fire and civil protection sector, revision of the salary scale of part-time firefighters, as well as full time workers.
They also demand the right to pre-retirement equivalent to the security forces, immediate integration of the Special Civil Protection Force in the framework of the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority, and the framing of operators of emergency management centers of the district and national operations and help.
The civil service strike will also take place on November 12 to contest the proposal of OE2022, which civil servants say does not respond to the problems of the sector or the demands of workers.
The CGTP’s Common Front, which called for the strike, say the 0.9% wage increase provided for in the budget proposal is not enough, as it does not allow for the recovery of purchasing power that has been lost by workers in the last 12 years.
Also the Federation of Unions of Public Administration (FESAP), of UGT, announced a strike for the same day, November 12th. Fesap understands that it is necessary to ‘give a voice to the protest and discontent of the workers of the public administration’ and warned that the strike not only covers the workers of the public administration, but also all the workers of the IPSS [Private Institutions of Social Solidarity] and Misericórdias.
The last national strike scheduled is that of doctors, on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of November, in protest against the measures provided for in the proposal for OE2022, which they consider insufficient.
They demand greater funding for health and say that the problems have been ‘highligted since the pre-pandemic period of COVID-19’ and that the solutions presented ‘are years old’.