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Massive Travel Disruptions in Portugal as Railway Workers & Inspectors Stage Strike

The strike of Comboios de Portugal’s (CP) – the country’s railway company-train ticket office workers and inspectors – has led to the cancellation of over half (57 per cent) of the 251 train trips scheduled between 00:00 and 08:00 based on the data provided by the company Lusa.

According to a report by Portugal News, the company stressed that 143 trains were cancelled until 08:00, reports.

Comboios de Portugal has indicated that of the total 66 scheduled regional trains, 34 connections were not made and on Lisbon urban trains 112 were scheduled and 71 were suspended.

At the same time, in Porto, 53 were scheduled for the period, while 26 were cancelled, and in long-distance trains, only three of the 12 planned connections were made.

Despite the fact that several CP unions called for a strike against proposed career regulations as well as demanded salary increases, only the Railway Union of the Itinerant Commercial Review (SFRCI) maintained the strike.

José Manuel Oliveira from the Federation of Transport and Communications Unions (Fectrans), told Lusa that the organisation as well as the National Union of Railway Sector Workers (SNTSF) decided to call off the strike following the meeting they held, with the Secretary of State for Infrastructure, Frederico Francisco.

According to Oliveira, “more private meetings will now be scheduled with the Secretary of State to discuss some problems in the rail sector”, taking also into account “issues related to traffic safety”.

He also emphasised that the other union that urged for a strike, SINFA- Independent Union of Railway Workers, Infrastructures and Related, also followed Fectrans and SNTSF’s position.

The organization that decided to maintain the strike, the SFRCI, said that it understands the agreement signed between CP management as well as train drivers’ union, which will end up halting social peace at the company.

The Arbitration Court defined minimum services of about 30 per cent for urban and regional services and about 25 per cent for long-haul services. At the same time, CP warned about strong disturbances in rail traffic that will be present until June 1.

The leader of the Railway Union of the Itinerant Commercial Review, Luís Bravo, said that the surge in the base salary is €12.50 euros while stressing that the application of the other prizes “is not daily”.

Bravo considered that the increase in salaries stipulated by the Government for the Civil Service as well as the State’s business industry was equitable for all workers, and by contrast, he said that this didn’t happen in CP.

The strike was previously called by several unions in Portugal and it was warned that it would cause major disruptions.