Release from the PCP Press Office

On the agreement reached by the PS Government with the employers' confederations and the UGT

The agreement reached yesterday between the PS Government, the Confederations of employers and UGT regarding labour legislation, does not answer the interests and rights of the workers, maintains the grievous provisions of the labour legislation, establishes new negative aspects. Some of the aims it announces on measures that should have long been adopted do not change the overall nature of the agreement now signed.

1. The changes to the labour legislation with the introduction of grievous provisions for the workers and their rights were profoundly negative, contributing to a worsening of exploitation, devaluation of work, underpaid work, deregulation of working hours, high level of precariousness, deterioration of working conditions and violation of collective rights.

The repeal of the grievous provisions of the Labour Code and of the labour legislation in the Public Administration is a necessary factor of valorisation of labour and workers.

2. The agreement now signed by the PS Government in Social Dialogue confirms the class options of the PS at the service of big business.

The Government insists on maintaining the expiry of collective bargaining and refuses to reintroduce the principle of the more favourable treatment to the worker. The ideas put forward of arbitration and reinforcement of mediation prior to the decision on expiry are not a solution, as it is also not a solution to subject the rights of workers to the discretion of decisions of arbitration colleges.

Instead of the Government, ensuring a State policy to combat precariousness so that a permanent job corresponds to an effective employment contract, putting an end to the pest of casual work, comes up with ideas that focus on limited aspects that do not solve the problem and add profoundly negative measures.

The idea of introducing a level of worker turnover, an acceptable level of precariousness, regardless of the legal justifications for precarious employment, is a negative element in terms of legalisation or tolerance of precariousness. The payment of a tax by companies that exceed this level of precariousness does not change the meaning of this measure, which, rather than combating precariousness, signifies its acceptance.

The PCP stresses the seriousness of the position of the PS Government which provides for the period of experience to go from 90 to 180 days for workers looking for a first job or in long-term unemployment, returning to a rule that the Constitutional Court considered unconstitutional.

The extension of the very short contract from 15 to 35 days also facilitates precariousness.

The allocation of tax incentives to companies that change workers from precarious links to effective links, that is, the allocation of funds to comply with the law, is essentially a pretext for a new transfer of public funds to the economic and financial groups.

Aspects such as reducing the time taken to extend the duration of fixed-term contracts from the current three years to two years do not counter the overall negative effect of the measures envisaged.

The Government insists on promoting the deregulation of working times by maintaining so-called adaptability and the bank of hours, now under a new version that allows the extension of working hours by a further 2 hours a day, reaching 50 hours a week, creating increasing difficulties in reconciling work with personal and family life, to the health and life of workers and introducing mechanisms to undermine trade union organisation.

The fact that the government finally accepts measures, such as strengthening and more effective action by the ACT [a government body that supervises working conditions] and the Ministry of Labour, which should have been taken long ago and which need to go from words to action, does not change the negative assessment of the PCP on the position of the PS Government against the rights of the workers, to serve the worsening of exploitation.

3. The agreement now signed, keeping the worst-case amendments to labour legislation of the responsibility of PS, PSD and CDS governments, proves the position of the current minority government of the PS, which, with the support of PSD and CDS, has prevented its change. This was also expressed by the vote of the PS, the PSD and the CDS against the viability of the draft legislation proposed by the PCP in the Assembly of the Republic regarding the elimination of the expiry of collective bargaining, the replacement of the more favourable treatment to the worker, elimination of deregulation of working hours , the setting of the maximum limit of 35 hours of weekly working hours for all workers, the establishment of 25 days of holidays, replacement of the value of overtime work and overtime payment on weekly rest days, among other matters.

4. The struggle of the workers and the intervention of the PCP ensured the defence, replacement and achievement of rights. This has to continue.

It is necessary to intensify the struggle for a widespread increase of wages, including for the Public Administration workers, for a National Minimum Wage of 650 euros in January 2019, against the deregulation of working times, for a maximum 35 hours of weekly work for all workers, against precariousness by ensuring that a permanent job corresponds to an effective employment contract, for better working conditions, for the extension of the right to holidays, against redundancies, for protection in unemployment, and the repeal of the grievous provisions of the labour legislation.

The PCP reaffirms its firm, coherent and determined intervention for the valorisation of work and of workers and its confidence that the unity, organisation and struggle of the workers, essential to uphold their rights, will end up by imposing the elimination of the grievous provisions of the labour legislation.
In this regard, it appeals to the Portuguese workers and people to participate in the national demonstration called by the CGTP-IN for June 9, in Lisbon.

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