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Tusenvis protesterer i Portugal for å kreve høyere lønn, et tak på mat

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Tusenvis av demonstranter fylte Lisboa sentrum lørdag (18. mars) for å kreve høyere lønninger og pensjoner, i tillegg til statlig intervensjon for å begrense de skyhøye matvareprisene som de sier kveler allerede stramme budsjetter.

Metalworker Paula Gonçalves, 51, said people were “protesting against low wages, precariousness and for more justice” for workers.

“We, the workers, are the ones who produce, we give everything we have… and the profit is all for employers and nothing for us,” she said.

Portugal is one of Western Europe’s poorest countries and official data shows that more than 50% of Portuguese workers earned less than 1,000 euros ($1,067) per month last year, while the minimum wage is only 760 euros per month.

According to Eurostat data, the minimum wage in Portugal – measured in purchasing power parities and not at current prices – in 2023 is 681 euros a month, the 12th lowest of the 15 European Union countries that have minimum wages. It compares with 726 euros in Poland, 775 euros in Greece or 798 euros in Spain.

Portugal’s biggest umbrella union, the CGTP, which called the protests, is calling for wages and pensions to be raised by at least 10% immediately and wants the government to impose caps on the price of basic foods.

Portugal’s economy minister Antonio Costa Silva ruled out on Friday any government intervention to stem soaring food prices, seeing the market as the best price-setting mechanism.

Annonse

As of Jan. 1, civil servants’ salaries were up by an average of 3.6% from 2022 levels and those of the private sector grew by 5.1%, while pensions rose by a maximum of 4.83%, government data shows.

Portugisisk inflasjon avtok til 8.2 % i februar fra 8.4 % måneden før. Prisene på ubearbeidede matvarer, som frukt og grønnsaker, steg med 20.11 %.

Et år etter at sosialistisk statsminister Antonio Costa vant flertall i parlamentet, står han overfor gateprotester og streiker fra lærere, leger, jernbanearbeidere og andre fagfolk.

“Each time I go to the supermarket I see that the (prices of) products increase a little more every day and wages do not follow… it is urgent to cap the increase in the cost of living,” said Ana Amaral, 51, a hospital administrative assistant.

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