The main hotel association in the Algarve has asked the Government to “exhaust all legal forms” to avoid strikes called by the inspectors and administrative unions of the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) over Easter.

The Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises of the Algarve (AHETA) warned of the “brutal consequences” that these workers’ strikes, called for between Wednesday and Monday, could have on tourist activity as it coincides with the Easter period, when a greater influx of tourists in the region is expected.

“The national interest must be above private interests and, if there is no other option, the Government must exhaust all legal ways to avoid this strike, even providing for the collaboration of the PSP to lessen the heavy impact”, appealed AHETA in a statement.

The same source considered that this is an urgent decision because the strikes will affect services such as passenger control at Faro airport, with damage to the image of the region because the lack of employees leads to the formation of queues of passengers, mainly from and with destined for countries outside the European Union.

“Destroying” the image of the Algarve

“The episode we experienced a few weeks ago at Faro Airport, on the occasion of a national strike, forcing passengers to wait several hours, in crowded rooms, even causing malaise and fainting, among other problems, the most serious was the image of the destination that remained for all our customers (…) they destroyed the image of the Algarve destination so much that many promotional campaigns will not erase anytime soon”, argued AHETA.

With the emergence of a “new strike notice from the SEF, scheduled exactly for the Easter season”, which “marks the end of the low season and allows the influx of thousands of tourists to the Algarve”, it is “expected” that the “impact in airport arrivals and departures is significant, continuing to bring down the image of the destination”.

“Not questioning the rights that everyone has to claim processes, other factors must be considered, such as the contribution that tourism is making to the country, so we appeal to those who have decision-making power to do everything to avoid this strike that has so much impact”, defended the Algarve business association.

The same source pointed out that, if the strike is confirmed, it will be the second to affect the airport in four months and questioned “what will happen in the rest of the year”.

"We have to define which paths we want to follow, if we should all work for the recovery of the sector and the country or if, on the other hand, we should work to destroy the work already done", he maintained.

The Union of Employees of the Foreigners and Borders Service (SINSEF), which includes employees with non-police functions, delivered last week a strike notice for April 5th and 6th.

The SEF Research and Inspection Career Union (SCIF/SEF) also issued a notice for a strike between the 6th and 10th of April, coinciding with the Easter period, which could cause disturbances at airports.

At issue is the integration of SEF workers into the Judiciary Police (PJ), the Institute of Registries and Notaries (IRN) and the future Portuguese Agency for Migration and Asylum (APMA) within the scope of the restructuring process of that body, whose union negotiations with the Government on the draft decree-law that regulates the transfer of employees are ongoing.

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