Portuguese workers hit by massive austerity package

From World Socialist Web Site:   http://wsws.org/articles/2011/dec2011/port-d12.shtml

By Paul Mitchell
12 December 2011

Manuel Carvalho da Silva, head of the General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (Confederação Geral dos Trabalhadores Portugueses, CGTP), declared last week that the recent budget, together with earlier cuts, will see public sector take-home pay decline by 27 percent next year compared to 2010.

The budget for 2012 passed at the end of November by Portugal’s Congress was designed by the so-called troika of Portugal’s international lenders: the European Union (EU), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the European Central Bank (ECB). Virtually all of Portugal’s economic policy is now set by the troika.

Portugal has so far avoided the installation of a technocratic overlord, as the EU has done in Greece and Italy. This is because of the united front presented by the Social Democrat-Popular Party (PSD-CDS) coalition government and the opposition Socialist Party (PS), in support of austerity.

The 2012 budget eliminates bonuses equivalent to two months’ salary, in 2012 and 2013, for public sector workers and for pensioners making more than €1,000 (US$1,340) a month. It allows private sector companies to extend the working day by 30 minutes without any additional pay. Taxes will be increased, including the sales tax (VAT) on gas and electricity—from 6 percent to 23 percent.

Spending cuts in 2012 represent 4.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), including cuts in health care spending. At the same time, the government raided pension funds for cash, transferring €6 billion worth of assets to the state balance sheet.

The budget measures are only the latest onslaught on living standards in the last year by the right-wing government and its Socialist Party (PS) predecessor that includes:

Continue reading at:   http://wsws.org/articles/2011/dec2011/port-d12.shtml

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Portuguese workers hit by massive austerity package
%d bloggers like this: