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(en) ait russia: Portuguese "left" government is trying to suppress the indefinite strike of drivers [machine translation]

Date Sat, 17 Aug 2019 09:05:39 +0300


The Portuguese government of the socialists, supported by the Communists and the "radical left" in parliament, intends to forcefully suppress the indefinite strike of truck drivers that began on August 12. The strike was announced by two leading trade unions of workers in this profession. ---- Already a few hours before the start of the strike, the Portuguese Prime Minister, speaking at the National Energy Agency, said that violating "civil law requirements" was "criminal disobedience" and could not "go unpunished." If the strikers do not provide "the minimum necessary services," the government will resort to civil law measures. ---- At midnight from Sunday to Monday, Portuguese truck warriors began an indefinite strike. The speech is essentially defensive in nature: drivers are trying to defend the rights for which they fought for 20 years. After two decades of work without any tariff agreement, in 2018, the Transport and Telecommunications Workers' Union (Fectrans) reached an agreement with the Union of Private Freight Transport Companies (Antram) on the tariff agreement for 2019. It included, in particular, an increase in the base salary and driver social insurance. However, verification showed that the terms of the agreement are largely not implemented. The Dangerous Goods Drivers Union (SNMMP), which was created only in November 2018, is also conducting separate tariff pernevations,

In addition to SNMMP and the independent Professional Drivers Office (SIMM), the City Public Transport Drivers Union (STRUN) also called for a strike, but the strike will last only until August 20.

The government has become very excited. It proclaimed an emergency energy situation and put civil protection on alert. Resistance to the directions of the Emergency and Disaster Management Service (ANEPC) - in other words, against a state-organized strike strike - can be punished as a criminal offense.

Officially, the government stepped up pressure the day before to prevent a shortage of gasoline, as was the case with the strike of drivers carrying dangerous goods in April. But this is just an excuse. As a representative of the SIMM union explained to the Portuguese newspaper Public on Sunday evening, these measures contradict the government's statement that in this case it is a conflict between private parties, in which it does not intervene. The union expects the authorities to use the military and the police in order to guarantee "the minimum necessary services."

The first messages on August 12 showed that this is happening. Police escorted trucks that delivered fuel to storage facilities. As early as last Wednesday, the government ordered "minimum necessary services" on strike days. They should provide fuel supply to the population in cities by 50%, and rescue services by 100%. If you take a closer look at the joint order of the ministries of economy, infrastructure, labor, environment, agriculture and health, it will turn out that the reserves are not only for rescue services, firefighters or the disposal of hazardous waste. The provision of fuel for airports, inland waterways, the army or the Bank of Portugal is also called "necessary or recommended". So that as Labor Minister Jose Antonio Vieira da Silva said at a press conference on Wednesday, to ensure a "climate of calm" for the Portuguese, half (even some 75%) of workers in Portuguese energy companies should work. 24 hours before the start of work termination, unions are required to name workers who will provide the "minimum necessary services". Since, according to the Antram Entrepreneurship Union, this was not done, then, according to the requirements of the law, companies are obliged to appoint such by force.

Mandatory minimum services are possible under Portuguese law. Recently, however, the bourgeois media and the unions of entrepreneurs have been demanding the expansion of this practice (...) Even before the strike of drivers, the trade union could observe this during the struggle of nurses. In other words, the campaign to limit the right to strike is an answer to the growing readiness to strike and the strike activity of the Portuguese working class. The strike of transport workers will be decisive for the success or failure of this campaign (https://www.jungewelt.de/artikel/360709.unbefristete-arbeitsniederlegung-klare-antwort.html)
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The Portuguese government has introduced special measures against drivers of fuel trucks, demanding that they return to work. Despite the strike, they are obliged to provide fuel to food suppliers, rescue services and public transport. Otherwise, the strikers could face up to two years in prison. Earlier, the government of Antoniu Costa announced an emergency energy situation at least until August 21. The country has introduced a restriction on the sale of gasoline: not more than 15 liters per car.

"Since the strikers refused to obey, the government had no choice but to use the law on civil requisition. The Cabinet of Ministers approved an e-mail statement today. It states that it is necessary to use the law on civil requisition to force the strikers to provide at least minimal a set of services, "said government spokesman Thiago Antunes.

An indefinite strike of 2,000 fuel truck drivers was announced on Monday. They require higher salaries and better working conditions. The strike collapsed at gas stations. By Monday evening, there were no or almost no fuel at more than a third of gas stations ( https://ru.euronews.com/2019/08/13/portugal-fuel-transporters-strike )
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