Fuel truck drivers apologise ahead of strike

in News · 12-07-2019 01:00:00 · 0 Comments
Fuel truck drivers apologise ahead of strike

The union responsible for representing fuel truck drivers has asked the Portuguese people for “forgiveness” as plans are put in place for further strike action in August

“We do not want to strike for many reasons, the main being the awareness we have of the impact and the inconvenience that a strike will cause the Portuguese people and the economy of the country. From now we ask the Portuguese people for forgiveness for any inconvenience to their daily life, we have no doubt that they will understand our struggle,” the unions of drivers of goods and dangerous goods stated in an open letter to ANTRAM.

The open letter is signed by Jorge Cordeiro of the Independent Merchandise Merchants Union (SIMM) and Francisco San Bento of the National Union of Dangerous Goods Drivers (SNMMP).

The first National Drivers’ Congress took place last week in Santarém and saw around 300 drivers unanimously approve the delivery of a notice to strike on 15 August, for an indefinite period , until the new Collective Labour Agreement (CCT) for the sector comes into force, which foresees a base salary increase of €100 over the next three years.

The new CCT will be brought to the meeting on 15 July to continue negotiations with ANTRAM, the federation affiliated to the General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (CGTP), Federation of Transport and Communications Trade Unions (FECTRANS), mediated by the Ministry of Labour.

During the same meeting, the two unions will issue a strike notice, threatening to paralyse transportation around the country from 12 August, for an indefinite period, until the new CCT comes into force.

In an open letter to ANTRAM, drivers challenged the “attempted manipulation of public opinion” in relation to the objective of the trade unions SIMM and SNMMP, stating that “the men who run these unions are themselves drivers of goods and dangerous goods.”

“We have been working for 22 years to serve the economy and the country with a high sense of responsibility and a true spirit, we know that the Portuguese will forgive us and understand that after 22 years it is time to think a little about ourselves and our families, after all, we too are men and women, parents, mothers, children” said the drivers’ unions.

The unions state that they are tired of “diplomacy games,” and drivers warn of “the precariousness of their working and social conditions.”
In this context, SIMM and SNMMP challenge ANTRAM, as well as other stakeholders in the sector, for “a televised debate on the whole situation,” according to the open letter.

“Let’s talk about the ongoing negotiation process, the protocols and compromise agreements made, the various proposals already presented,” said the unions of drivers, adding as a topic of debate “what has been happening in the sector over the last 22 years which has led the drivers to now take these positions.”

Claiming to wait for ANTRAM’s “quiet” response to the challenge, the drivers pointed out “a certainty: whoever refuses the debate only has something to hide.”

The proposal for the new CCT provides for a base salary increase of €100 over the next three years (€1,400 gross for 2020, €1,600 for 2021 and €1,800 for 2022), indexed to the increase in the minimum wage, improvement of working conditions and payment of overtime from eight working hours, among other measures.

Created at the end of 2018, SNMMP became known for their fuel drivers strike which began on 15 April, prompting the Government to enact a civil requisition before inviting the parties to sit at the negotiating table.

The high adherence to the three-day strike surprised everyone, including the union itself, and left many of the country’s petrol stations out of fuel.


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