The announcement of the strike on 24 and 25 March was made by the president of the main union representing the country’s prison guards (SNCGP), Jorge Alves, during a vigil held on Thursday morning in front of the ministry, which ended with the handing in of a notice to the minister, Paula Teixeira da Cruz.
“We have scheduled a strike for 24 and 25 March and we’re already planning other strikes for April if the Ministry does not present concrete facts and say that it will finally meet its promises,” Alves told Lusa News Agency.
At issue, the union says, are rules governing working hours, career progression and the approval of new pay scales - all elements of the new professional statutes covering the prison service that took legal effect more than a year ago, but which have not yet been implemented.
Prison guards demand “a rapid solution” to this problem, Alves said. According to the union, they were told at the start of this year that the money could not be found to assure promotions and the agreed pay scales.
There are also issues relating to health and hygiene of inmates and prison guards alike, he said.
Portugal’s prison guards have since 2 March been taking partial strike action by refusing to work nights and weekends, and this is set to continue until 1 April. According to the union, 80 percent of the workforce is adhering to the strike.