Portuguese labour groups begin raft of strikes against austerity, reforms

LISBON, Portugal – Portuguese postal workers opposed to the national mail service’s planned privatization are walking off the job for 24 hours, marking the start of a series of strikes by labour groups angry about reforms and austerity measures.

The government has announced plans to sell up to 70 per cent of the state-owned mail company CTT-Correios de Portugal. Trade unions fear layoffs and a loss of entitlements.

The privatization is part of a lengthy list of measures Portugal agreed to enact in return for its 78 billion-euro ($107.7 billion) financial rescue in 2011. Tax hikes and pay and pension cuts are to continue next year.

Transport workers have called walkouts between Oct. 31 and Nov. 9.

The postal strike Friday was expected to disrupt mail delivery.