CGTP Secretary-General Arménio Carlos called on the country’s president to take steps to wind up the current government, on the basis that it is in no position to demand more sacrifices from ordinary citizens.
The leader of Portugal’s largest trade union confederation has called on the country’s president to take steps to wind up the current government, on the basis that it is in no position to demand more sacrifices from ordinary citizens.
The right-of-centre coalition currently in power, said CGTP Secretary-General Arménio Carlos, “no longer resolves anything, it only worsens the problems.” A government retreat from its plan to raise employees’ social security contributions to 18% of salary from 11%, he stressed, would not be enough.
It’s better that [the government] fall and that it fall now,” Carlos said. “And in that context, we think the President of the Republic has a very important word in this.”
Under Portugal’s constitution, the president can dissolve parliament at will, with the only requirements being that he first call a meeting of the Council of State, comprising a broad range of senior advisors, and that he publicly explain the reasons for the dissolution afterwards.
President Aníbal Cavaco Silva has called a meeting of the Council of State for Friday, and asked the minister of finance to attend.
The CGTP leader said the president should act in line with his own recent public statements.
A week ago, just hours before the prime minister announced the social security changes, the President of the Republic was saying that the limit of sacrifices had been reached for workers and other parts of the population who have suffered so much [and that] if there were to be sacrifices, they would have to be … for those who hadn’t yet been affected,” Carlos said. “In view of the government’s response, what else can the President do?”
He said the union – which has close links with the Portuguese Communist Party – was awaiting a response to its recent request for an audience with the president. Meanwhile, it has called an anti-austerity demonstration for 29 September, in Lisbon.
Carlos was speaking at the refinery at Leça de Palmeira, Matosinhos, where he was providing moral support to striking workers of the Galp oil and gas group. The stoppage, called to press for higher base wages and to resist deep cuts in overtime and holiday pay, began on Monday and is to run through to Wednesday.