“We want higher pay”: that was the message from thousands who marched in Lisbon on Thursday, heeding union calls to protest against recent austerity measures in Portugal.
They include an extraordinary tax on end-of-year bonuses, announced by the prime minister Passos Cuelho.
The move goes beyond Portugal’s bailout terms – because, he says, new figures on the economy show it is necessary. The demonstrators beg to differ.
“I’m here because I think the measures being brought in are very unfair. I am here because it’s through this workers’ struggle that we can fight against the rising cost of living,” said one young woman.
A man said:
“I’m a worker, living conditions today are bad and are likely to get worse so I’m here to fight for my interests, for the workers’ interests.”
The government has just published a more pessimistic estimate for GDP than was previously predicted.
Under Portugal’s loan plan, the country needs to cut its budget deficit by more than a third this year.