Portuguese public transport workers began a 24 hour strike just before midnight on Wednesday.
They are protesting against government efforts to downsize the sector which has run up a debt of 17 billion euros, equivalent to 10 percent of the country’s GDP. Fares also went up by an average of five percent on Wednesday.
Outside Lisbon Metro traffic control building, a picket line gathered overnight, supported by the recently-elected head of the General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (CGTP), who said:
“For now it has started well (the strike) – the underground is completely stopped and everything indicates that there will be high participation from the transport workers.”
While the metro was completely closed, other areas such as trams and buses continued to offer a minimum service, helping people get to work.
Some economists say a failure by Portugal to deal with its public transport debt could lead to the country seeking more funds beyond its 78-billion euro bailout.
Portugal hit by public transport strike