In a statement sent to Lusa, the union says it "has already protested" with the company and has already asked for the "urgent" intervention by the Authority for Working Conditions.

"The company alleges article 309 of the Labour Code, knowing, as it knows, that such rule does not apply to the case", he adds.

That article alludes to cases of "temporary closure or temporary decrease in activity of a company or establishment that does not respect the situation of a business crisis".

"The closure of the Famalicão hospital was done without the company being obliged to do so and, therefore, it is illegal," says the union.

Lusa contacted the Trofa Saúde Group, which has yet to react.

However, Lusa had access to an email sent by the Human Resources of the Trofa Saúde Group to a worker, who says that the "catastrophe" caused by the covid-19 infection forced the temporary closure of services, as it created a lack of immediate, unpredictable activity and totally out of the company's control".

"In other words, the services were closed for reasons of force majeure, and the company is analyzing the best ways to react to this crisis that has taken place and to ensure jobs," he adds.

The group also says that, "so that workers do not lose income, the company indicated as a way that, during this period, the days should be compensated for hours and vacations for employees".

"The company indicated this path in the sense of not harming employees too much", he stresses.

He emphasizes that he will not force any worker to take their vacation now, if that is not their intention and concludes by saying that workers who do not want to take their vacation now will still not have to go to work, but will see their wages reduced in 25 percent during the closing period.

The group's hospital in Famalicão closed on 19 March.

Workers have, however, been informed of the extension of the closing deadline, which is now on 20 April.

"I have been on vacation since 16 March. If the closure lasts until 20 April, it would be longer than the 22 days of vacation I am entitled to," said a worker to Lusa.

The worker has already contested, saying that she did not accept, but still has not received any response.

For the union, the company is not complying with the formalities and legal procedures provided for in the Labour Code, thus incurring a "very serious and criminal offense, punishable by up to two years' imprisonment and a fine of up to 240 days”.