Thousands of civil service and private sector employees from across the country demonstrated in Lisbon on Saturday to demand wage increases and measures to deal with the rising cost of living. Over the whole of 2022, the inflation rate in Portugal reached a historically high level of 7.8%, the highest for 30 years.
This demonstration, at the call of the General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (CGTP), comes the day after a national strike by civil servants, to demand wage increases, which has affected waste collection, the operation of schools and hospitals. The CGTP, the main Portuguese trade union confederation, is also calling for control of the prices of essential goods, aid to curb the rise in rents and mortgages, as well as measures to fight against precariousness.
“Wage increases of at least 10%”
“The cost of living is becoming unbearable” or even “it is unacceptable to be impoverished by working”, chanted the demonstrators who marched in the main avenue of the Portuguese capital. “The situation is getting really difficult! “, told AFP Inacio Catela, a 61-year-old distribution agent from Torres Vedras, about sixty kilometers north of Lisbon. “It is urgent to upgrade our work, our careers and our salaries”, explains, a little further in the procession, Raquel Silva, 42, administrative employee in a hospital in the center of the country.
“We demand a rise in wages, but a real rise, higher than inflation, which will make it possible to recover and strengthen the purchasing power of families”, declared at the end of the parade the general secretary of the CGTP, Isabel Camarinha. , who addressed the protesters. “We want wage increases of at least 10% and never less than 100 euros for all employees,” she said.