"The plenary of workers took this decision because they do not accept the illegal recourse to adaptability of hours by the company, which is applying scales that are not regulated, trying to maintain continuous labour in a cheaper way," José Eduardo Andrade, leader of the Union of Agricultural Workers and Food, Beverage and Tobacco Industries of Portugal (SINTAB), told Lusa news agency.

According to the union leader, in June 2020, on the pretext of the pandemic, Super Bock proposed bringing forward the end of the continuous labour agreement in the manufacturing area, which represented "a substantial loss of income for workers".

With the end of the agreement, which should only end in April 2021, only half of the workers are obliged to work continuously, the rest, although they work shifts, are not obliged to work weekends and holidays.

So they chose to strike at those times, to be properly safeguarded and to be able to refuse to work on those days or to work overtime.

"It's because the company is also trying to impose 42 hours of work a week when it's necessary, when the schedule is 39 hours, creating an illegal bank of hours, and laying off workers when they're not so necessary, given that production has its peak in the summer", José Andrade said.

Given the unwillingness of the workers, Super Bock decided to unilaterally implement from 1 April schedules and shifts that will penalise employees, SINTAB's leader also said.

According to the union leader, the first effects of the strike should be felt over Easter weekend.