Six-week strike at embassies, consulates around the world

  • Lusa
  • 21 November 2022

The union representatives came away with "a handful of nothing", which led them to abandon the negotiations with the Government, which have been going on "for more than two years".

The union of workers at consular posts, embassies, diplomatic missions and cultural centres of Portugal abroad has decreed a six-week strike, beginning on 5 December, which threatens to cause “chaos” in these services.

Speaking to Lusa on Monday, the deputy secretary-general of the Union of Consular Workers, Diplomatic Missions and Central Services of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (STCDE), Alexandre Vieira, said the decision had been taken after a meeting last Friday with the secretary of state for Portuguese communities, Paulo Cafôfo.

From this meeting, he said, the union representatives came away with “a handful of nothing”, which led them to abandon the negotiations, which have been going on “for more than two years”.

“We can’t be in a dialogue of mutes,” he said, accusing the Portuguese government of failing to implement the agreements made in recent times on various matters.

The trade unionist said that the ministry of finance had said that the resolution of several problems was now in its hands, namely the issue of pay scales that would solve old problems, such as the necessary salary correction for workers in Brazil.

Also to be implemented, according to the union, is the publication of the new exchange rate correction mechanism, which covers accumulated exchange rate losses negotiated and agreed upon with the government over two years ago.

In this regard, he said that the exchange losses of the Portuguese MFA workers in the United States and Switzerland already represent two salaries.

“The technical assistants in the United States enter earning €1,600, which is not enough to rent a room in New York”, he said.

Alexandre Vieira recalled that “it was duly structured and negotiated, with the previous minister and the current Secretary of State for Portuguese Communities, Paulo Cafôfo, for these salary scales to be immediately altered”.

The union member regretted that in last week’s meeting with Paulo Cafôfo, he only had to inform the union that the decree that resolves the situation of workers in Brazil would soon be published.

The strike will take place between 5 December this year and 12 January 2023, he said that “it’s a long one”, the first to be scheduled in the last ten years, and that it will cause “tremendous chaos, which already exists with the lack of human resources, but there will be chaos in all posts”.

“This strike will greatly affect the Portuguese communities scattered around the world,” he said.

“The government has until the 05th to resolve this situation,” he noted.