Portugal hit by anti-privatization strikes

April 17, 2015 10:02 am 

LISBON, April 17 — Pilots at TAP Air Portugal and employees at railway company Comboios de Portugal (CP) on Thursday pushed the government to resolve issues regarding the privatization of state-owned companies.

Employees at the rail company CP walked out on Thursday to protest the concession plans, with around 326 trains canceled until midday.

On Wednesday night, pilots at Portuguese flag carrier TAP threatened to stage a 10-day strike — from May 1 to May 10 — in a meeting held by the Civil Aviation Pilots Syndicate, demanding a stake of up to 20 percent in the company when it is privatized.

The airline, which has debt amounting to over 1 billion euros (1.07 billion U.S. dollars), has been struck by successive strikes, costing the company millions of euros.

TAP is now in the process of selecting a bidder to sell off a 66 percent stake of the company, which employees fear could lead to job losses.

Portugal took on a privatization program to reduce its debt load, as part of a 78 billion euro bailout program the country signed in 2011 with the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank when it was on the verge of bankruptcy.( 1 euro = 1.07 U.S. dollar) (PNA/Xinhua)

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