Portugal’s tough new austerity measures have been widely criticised as an attack on workers.
The government’s announced a raft of changes, including an increase in social security contributions from 11 to 18 per cent, which roughly equates to one month’s salary.
In a bid to boost employment, which stands at a record high above 15 percent, Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coehlo also wants to introduce a cut in companies social security contributions from 23.75 to 18 per cent.
Lisbon newspaper kiosk owner, Maria Menezes, described the move as unfair for the working class: “There are other ways of raising money, and saying this will create more jobs is a lie.”
Sentiments shared by antiques dealer, Francisco Sliva: “The public deficit is better but people’s lives haven’t improved. There’s more unemployment and these measures won’t lead to more jobs, I’m absolutely certain of that,” he said.
Across-the-board tax rises and spending cuts have already seen thousands of Portuguese take to the streets in protest. The country was forced to seek a bailout last year and entered its deepest recession since the 1970s.