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General strike severely affects Portugal

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General strike severely affects Portugal

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Hundreds of flights have been cancelled due to a general strike in Portugal. Trains and buses are also affected.

Services from healthcare to schools and banks have been hit. Unions say the whole country has more-or-less ground to a halt.

This is the first joint general strike by Portugal’s two biggest unions since 1988.

They have been angered by plans to cut public sector wages, freeze pensions and increase taxes.

Private and public sector workers are expected to take part in the stoppage.

Prime Minister Jose Socrates wants to stop rumours that Portugal will be the next Eurozone country to need a bailout after Ireland and Greece.

The stoppage comes just two days before the parliament in Lisbon is due to vote on an austerity budget.