Tuesday, February 27, 2024

“Chaos” expected at consulates

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“We started the negotiations in a good way”, said the secretary general of the Union of Consular Workers and Diplomatic Missions Abroad (STCDE), who decreed the strike for the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 10th, 11th. , 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 24 April at consular posts, diplomatic missions and cultural centres of the Camões Institute abroad.

According to Rosa Teixeira Ribeiro, after several meetings with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two counter-proposals that the union presented for the revision of salary tables went unanswered.

This despite the union having “agreed with the proposed amounts for 70% of the countries and listing the disagreements”.

“The last counterproposal was submitted on January 31, more than six weeks ago. It is hard to understand how a process that is so well monitored suddenly finds itself at this stage where there is not even an answer”, she lamented.

The unionist alleges that this is “a protest against the lack of response” and because “texts that were negotiated, consensual” had not yet been published – such as the new exchange rate correction mechanism and the regulation of Camões institute workers abroad.

“We were shocked because we had a meeting on the 13th of February on the absence of social protection, in which they intended to postpone the discussion of these issues to the end of the negotiations. Social protection is non-negotiable, these issues have to be dealt with in parallel”, she said.

“Unbearable” situation

For Rosa Teixeira Ribeiro, the situation at consular posts “is unbearable” and the tenders that are being opened present “remunerations that are not attractive”.

On the other hand, she said, the union felt “very badly” about the fact that all public administration workers in Portugal had a salary update, which was not applied to those working abroad.

“We cannot be considered second-rate employees. We are first-rate. We do not accept the speeches that the government fronts have a lot of work with education and health. We are the only public administration workers from abroad that are completely forgotten,” she said.

Rosa Teixeira Ribeiro guarantees that the strike will not go ahead unless the new exchange rate correction mechanism is published, the regulation of Camões institute workers abroad and the response to the trade union counter-proposal.

“Let’s go on strike. We are aware that our strike, in a period like this (…) will bring embarrassment to the communities because it is a period in which they need the posts”, she said, adding: “The posts closed four days a week will be even greater chaos, but it is the only way to make ourselves heard”.

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