Portugal was crippled on Wednesday as workers staged a 24-hour strike causing travel chaos and closing schools and hospitals to protest against tough austerity measures designed to tackle the debt crisis.
By Fiona Govan, in Lisbon 5:34PM GMT 24 Nov 2010, The Telegraph
The stoppage, the first since 1988 to involve Portugal’s two main unions, the UGT and CGTP, grounded flights, disrupted ports, train and bus services and shut down schools and factories to protest against proposed wage cuts and tax increases.
The Portuguese strike comes ahead of a vote in Parliament on Friday when the Socialist government hopes to push through unpopular austerity measures designed to quell rising speculation that Portugal will be the next in Europe to require a bail-out after Ireland and Greece.
Prime Minister Jose Socrates insisted this week that “Portugal doesn’t need anyone’s help” and will not request a financial rescue by the European Union and International Monetary Fund.