Consular, overseas mission staff to strike for 13 days in April
After several meetings with representatives from the ministry of foreign affairs, the two counter-proposals presented by the union for the revision of salary scales remained unanswered.
The union of public administration workers abroad has called a 13-day strike in April against the absence of answers to “fundamental” questions, which it believes will cause “even greater chaos in consulates”.
“We have started negotiations in a good way,” the secretary-general of the union of consular workers and diplomatic missions abroad (STCDE), which has decreed the strike for April 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 24 at consular posts, diplomatic missions and cultural centres of the Camões cooperation institute abroad, told Lusa news agency on Wednesday.
According to Rosa Teixeira Ribeiro, after several meetings with representatives from the ministry of foreign affairs, the two counter-proposals presented by the union for the revision of salary scales remained unanswered.
This despite the union having “agreed with the amounts proposed for 70% of the countries and listing the disagreements”.
“The last counter-proposal was presented on 31 January, more than six weeks ago. It is incomprehensible how such a well-attended process suddenly finds itself at this stage where there is not even a response,” she lamented.
The trade unionist claims that this is “a protest against the absence of a response” and because “texts that were negotiated, consensualised” – such as the new exchange rate correction mechanism and the regulation of Camões cooperation institute workers abroad – have still not been published.
“We were shocked because we had a meeting on 13 February on the absence of social protection, where they wanted to postpone discussion of these issues until the end of the negotiations. Social protection is not negotiable, these issues have to be dealt with in parallel”, she said.
For Rosa Teixeira Ribeiro, the situation in consular posts “is unaffordable” and the recruitment tenders that are being launched have “unattractive salaries”.
In addition, she said, the fact that all public administration workers in Portugal have had their salaries updated, which has not been applied to those working abroad, has hit the union “very badly”.
“We can’t be considered second class employees. We are first class. We don’t accept the speeches that the government front offices have a lot of work with education and health. We are the only public administration workers abroad who are completely forgotten,” she said.
Rosa Teixeira Ribeiro guarantees that the strike will only not go ahead if the new exchange rate correction mechanism, the regulation of Camões overseas cooperation institute workers and the response to the union counterproposal are published.
“We are going on strike. We are aware that our strike, in a period like this (…) will bring embarrassment to communities because it is a period when they need the posts,” she said, adding: “The posts closed four days a week will be even greater chaos, but it is the only way we can make ourselves heard.”