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Public transport in Portugal hit by strike

Public transport in Portugal hit by strike
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Metro and train stations in Portugal were deserted on Thursday as the country’s trade unions staged a one day strike.

Trains were idle with the public transport sector the hardest hit in what is Portugal’s fourth general strike in two years.

The action is aimed at forcing the government to boost economic growth and ease the austerity measures. Portugal received a 78 billion euro bailout in 2011 from the European Union and IMF.

“The majority of the workers are against the measures this government implemented and so are on strike. This country is being very uncompromising and what is happening in Portugal is very serious,” explained transport union representative Abilio Carvalho.

Many private sector workers defied the call to walk out, but with only a handful of buses running the journey to work was difficult.

“They all have the right to strike, but they should provide the minimum of transport,” explained one commuter while another added, “I won’t strike. I have to go to work, otherwise I won’t get paid by my boss and I need the money.”

Protesters in cities across the country marched throughout the day to emphasise their demands and make what one striker called, ‘a cry of resistance’ against the government’s policies.

The centre right coalition government holds a comfortable majority in parliament and there is no indication it will change course.