Workers accuse PM of lies over closure of Galp’s Matosinhos refinery

  • Lusa
  • 24 September 2021

In front of the Matosinhos town hall, in the Porto district, around a hundred workers accused the prime minister, António Costa, of lying about the refinery's closure.

Workers at the Galp refinery in Matosinhos, which closed in April, on Friday demanded its reactivation and guaranteed to show their discontent at the polls on Sunday, during the local council elections, calling the prime minister a “liar”.

In front of the Matosinhos town hall, in the Porto district, around a hundred workers accused the prime minister, António Costa, of lying about the refinery’s closure, demanding respect from him for those who lost their jobs.

“Closing is not a solution, Costa is a liar” was written on a banner displayed by the workers, who whistled in protest every time his name was heard.

Assuring that the workers will not give up, the leader of the workers’ commission (TC), Hélder Guerreiro, said that they will not give up the future of Matosinhos.

Strongly condemning last Sunday’s statements by António Costa, who, during a campaign for the local elections in Matosinhos, as secretary-general of the Socialist Party, said that “it was difficult to imagine so much nonsense, so much nonsense, so much insensitivity” as Galp showed in the closure of the Matosinhos refinery, promising an “exemplary lesson” to the company, Hélder Guerreiro asked the company to move from words to action.

“If you want to teach Galp a lesson, let’s readmit the dismissed workers and put the refinery to work for the benefit of the country and the region,” he said.

Speaking about a social crime committed in Matosinhos, the CT leader pointed out that the prime minister never responded to the workers’ appeals and that only now, on the eve of the elections, has he proved them right.

“He has shown total insensitivity throughout this whole process”, he stressed.

Criticism of Costa dominated the entire demonstration with Miguel Ângelo, from the Site-Norte union, saying that the prime minister is the “figure” of the refinery’s closure.

“He [the prime minister] was the first person to know,” he stressed, saying that as long as the “flame is not extinguished” they will continue to fight.

He stressed that the country will become poorer and will lose sovereignty, believing that time will prove the workers right.

Under the motto “The Porto refinery is right”, João Marinho, dismissed under the collective dismissal process, after 19 years working at the refinery, spoke of a “dramatic” situation given the loss of income.

“But I will fight to the end. I still believe in the reintegration and reactivation of the refinery, there just needs to be political will”.

Galp shut down the last production unit of the Matosinhos refinery on April 30, following the decision to concentrate operations in Sines.

The oil company justified the “complex decision” to close the refinery based on an assessment of the European and world refining context, as well as sustainability challenges, to which the characteristics of the facilities were added.

The closure of the Matosinhos refinery represents losses of 5% of GDP in Matosinhos and 1% in the Metropolitan Area of Porto, according to a socioeconomic study to which Lusa had access.

The study, commissioned by the Matosinhos City Council from Porto University to assess the socio-economic impacts of the closure in the municipality, outlines a “particularly serious scenario” for the northern region and for the country if no destination is given to the industrial facility.

The state is one of Galp’s shareholders, with a 7% stake, through Parpública.