Thousands of civil servants and private sector workers from across the country demonstrated in Lisbon on Saturday to demand wage increases and measures to cope with the rising cost of living. Inflation in Portugal throughout 2022 reached a historic high of 7.8%, the highest level in 30 years.
This demonstration, called for by the General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (CGTP), comes the day after a national strike by civil servants demanding wage increases, which has affected waste collection, the operation of schools and hospitals. The CGTP, the main Portuguese trade union federation, is also calling for controls on the prices of essential goods, help to curb the rise in rents and mortgages, as well as measures to combat uncertainty.
“Wage increases of at least 10%”
“The cost of living is becoming unbearable” or even “it is unacceptable to become impoverished by working,” chanted the demonstrators who marched on the main street of the Portuguese capital. “The situation is getting really tough! “said AFP Inacio Catela, a 61-year-old distribution agent from Torres Vedras, about 60 kilometers north of Lisbon. “There is an urgent need to upgrade our work, our careers and our salaries,” explains Raquel Silva, 42, an administrative clerk at a hospital in the center of the country a little further down the line.
“We demand a wage increase, but a real increase, higher than inflation, which will allow to restore and strengthen the purchasing power of households,” Isabel Camarinha, general secretary of the CGTP, declared at the end of the parade. , addressing the demonstrators. “We want wage increases of at least 10% and never less than 100 euros for all employees,” she said.