Portuguese Strike Halts Trains, Shuts Lisbon’s Metro
Trains in Portugal will stop running today and Lisbon’s metro service will shut down as the country’s two main labor groups strike to protest government austerity measures.
Underground trains will restart at 1 a.m. tomorrow, according to the Metropolitano de Lisboa website. State-owned rail operator CP-Comboios de Portugal said on its website yesterday it doesn’t expect services to run.
Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho is battling rising joblessness and a deepening recession as he cuts spending and raises taxes to meet the terms of a 78 billion-euro ($102 billion) aid plan from the euro area and the International Monetary Fund. Coelho announced measures on May 3 intended to generate savings of about 4.8 billion euros through 2015 that include reducing the number of state workers.
A deeper recession and higher unemployment are “exacerbating social and political tensions and, in turn, testing the government’s resolve to continue with adjustment policies and reforms,” the IMF said in a report on June 13.
Today’s strike may affect flights, state-owned airline TAP SGPS SA and airport manager ANA-Aeroportos de Portugal (PTGDPQOQ) SA said. Volkswagen AG (VOW)’s Autoeuropa car factory in Palmela, southern Portugal, will halt production. The plant accounts for 1.3 percent of Portugal’s economy.
The government also plans to review state workers’ pay, and their working week will increase to 40 hours from 35 hours starting this year, in line with the private sector.
The UGT and CGTP labor groups, which called today’s walkout, last staged a joint general strike in November 2011, six months after the bailout.
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