Immigration, borders service union warns of May, June strikes at airports

  • Lusa
  • 5 May 2023

At stake is the uncertainty about the future of the inspectors of the immigration and border control service (SEF).

The trade union of Portugal’s investigators, inspectors and border guards (SIIFF) on Friday announced several strike periods starting on 20 May for airports in Lisbon, Porto, Faro and Madeira.

At stake is the uncertainty about the future of the inspectors of the immigration and border control service (SEF) after the government approved, on April 6, the decree-law establishing the transition scheme for SEF workers following a restructuring process.

SIIFF today handed in two pre-strike notices that will take place in May and June, one for Lisbon airport and the other for Faro, Porto and Madeira airports, as well as for the remaining border posts.

According to the pre-announcements, delivered on the day the interior ministry announced plans to reinforce the operational capacity of Portuguese airports during the summer period due to the increase in passengers, the stoppage at Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado airport will take place between 05:00 and 10:00 from 20 to 22 May, 27 to 29 May, 3 to 5 June, 10 to 12 June, 17 to 19 June and 24 to 26 June.

At the remaining airports and border crossings, namely maritime, the strike will take place on May 22 and 29 and June 5, 12, 19 and 26.

In the strike notice, the SIIFF recalls that the approval of the decree-law resulted from collective negotiation between the government and the unions representing the workers with the aim of discussing the transition from the extinct SEF investigation and surveillance career to the criminal investigation career of the Judicial Police (the country’s main criminal investigation agency).

“From the mentioned negotiation, no commitment between the parties resulted that reflects the issues discussed and decisions taken by the government. What is certain is that, to date, the content of the approved decree-law is unknown, as is any timetable that would allow us to determine the dates for the implementation/operation of this entire process”, criticises the union.

The trade union considers that “more than three years after the government made known its intention to abolish the SEF, it is unacceptable that CIF/SEF workers continue to be confronted with this climate of uncertainty and relegated to a total lack of knowledge about their future”.

In the face of “this lack of definition”, and until the government deigns to make known the decree-law approved by the Cabinet and present, “with the necessary degree of certainty, the timetable for the implementation of the transition process of the CIF/SEF workers”, the union says there is “no alternative but to demonstrate deep indignation, through the use of all means provided by law”, including strike action.

In addition to SIIFF, the immigration and border security service also has another inspectors’ union and a union representing non-police workers.