Anti-cuts demonstrations held by Portuguese teachers

Portugal teachers hold anti-cuts demo

Sun, 16 Jun 2013 07:09:41 GMT

Thousands of teachers in the Portuguese capital have held a protest against the government’s new policies for public schools.

A union leader said nearly 10,000 employees participated in the march on Saturday in Lisbon, where teachers rallied against the government’s tough austerity measures regarding public schools.

“We are with our students, we are fighting for them too, also for our future for our career as teachers but mainly for a public education of quality in Portugal,” said Anabela Soraia, one of the protesters.
Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho’s government is planning to cut spending in Portugal’s education sector by increasing the working hours of teachers, laying off educators, as well as reducing compensation and allowances for dismissed teachers.

The government is attempting to raise enough revenues in order to meet goals under the bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

It is reported that Education Minister Nuno Crato has urged the two main labor unions, General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (CGTP) and General Union of Workers (UGT), to cancel their planned strikes for June 24 and 28, which are exam days in Portugal.

In addition, the labor unions have organized an anti-government general strike for June 27 to protest the public sector pay cuts.

Portugal is grappling with its worst recession since the 1970s, and the Portuguese economy is forecast to shrink by 2.3 percent this year, with unemployment expected to exceed the all-time high of 18 percent.

In April, the government was forced to revise its 2013 austerity plans after the Constitutional Court rejected several proposed cuts.

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