The year freight drivers stopped the country

in News · 31-12-2019 10:00:00 · 0 Comments

The year 2019 was marked by two strikes by freight drivers in April and August, with the first one taking the country by surprise and depleting fuel stocks at various filling stations.

Created in late 2018, the National Union of Hazardous Drivers (SNMMP) became known with the strike that began on 15 April, which was issued indefinitely.

The SNMMP claimed salaries of 1,200 Euros for industry professionals, a specific allowance of 240 Euros and a reduction in retirement age.

That strike left most of the country's petrol stations without fuel during the Easter period, prompting the government to issue a civil requisition due to non-compliance with minimum services.

Subsequently, the Government took on the role of mediator in a “private war” and invited trade union representatives and the National Association of Public Road Hauliers (Antram) to sit at the negotiating table, leading the union and bosses to agree and the strike to be called off on 18 April, with the start of negotiation process scheduled for the 29th.

However, when the parties met, the mood of the negotiations deteriorated and already with a new threat of strike on the table, SNMMP, Independent Freight Drivers Union (SIMM), Federation of Transport and Communications Unions (Fectrans), Antram and Government met again at the Directorate-General for Employment and Labor Relations (DGERT) on 15 July.

After a nearly five-hour meeting, only the federation affecting the CGTP decided to continue negotiations for the new collective bargaining agreement, while the other two unions chose to jointly deliver a new indefinite strike notice, starting on 12 August.

The following month was marked by a “media battle”, with almost daily accusations between the parties involved in the conflict, calls for the strike to be called off and to resume negotiations and criticism of political advantage made by the Government to other parties and returned by them to the executive.

As the union and employers could not agree on the definition of minimum services, it was up to the Government to define them (between 50 percent and 100 percent across the country), also activating a network of strategic posts for the country's supply and decreeing the state of energy emergency.

In a climate of labor conflict, CIP - Confederação Empresarial de Portugal raised questions about the need to regulate the exercise of the right to strike, leading the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, to respond that a revision of the strike law was not on the agenda.

As the strike approached, the rush to the gas stations and the disruption of stocks began in some parts of the country, as well as the jerricans reserves in various stores.

The second strike actually took place, but at the very end of the first day the Government decreed a partial civil requisition of the striking drivers, alleging non-compliance with the minimum services, and also stating that the military of the Armed Forces could replace the stopped drivers, including in the loading and unloading operations.

On 15 August, the SIMM withdrew from the strike and decided to resume negotiations with Antram, which were already in a more advanced state with Fectrans.

After seven days of strike, on 18 August, SNMMP decided to dispatch it, but the hazardous drivers again threatened another strike between 7 and 22 September, this time only on weekends and extraordinary work, but it would be called upon due to the signing of a principle of agreement between the parties.

However, SNMMP lawyer Pardal Henriques announced that he was a candidate for the October Democratic Republican Democratic Party (PDR) legislative elections, and no longer spokesman for the union, "not to mix up what could be interpreted as an election campaign."

On 29 October, employers and unions formally signed the new collective bargaining agreement for the sector, after what Antram lawyer André Matias de Almeida called “a very tough negotiation”, updating by 11.1 percent the Salary table for heavy duty drivers.

Finally, in December, a framework agreement was signed resulting from the working group consisting of the Ministries of Infrastructure, Economy and Labor, the trade unions and the employers' association, which had been set up to improve the regulation of loading and unloading operations in the freight transport sector and lays down a maximum of two hours for unloading a lorry, which when exceeded entails payment of compensation by the consignee of the cargo.

It is also clear that loading and unloading is not a function for drivers, with some exceptions.


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