Left Bloc party calls for Portugal’s minimum wage to exceed €600 in 2019

portugal minimum wage Catarina Martins, Coordinator of Portugal's Left Bloc party

Portugal’s government has pledged to raise the national minimum wage from €585 to €600 per month in 2019, but the Left Bloc political party is calling for an even higher increase.

Portugal’s Minister of Labor said today that the government is “always open” to proposals to update the minimum wage, but stressed that the only commitment that can be assumed now is that the national minimum wage will only reach €600 in 2019, according to a report in Sapo 24 on Monday.

portugal minimum wage
Jose Antonio Vieira da Silva

“We will discuss it in the Social Dialogue without closing any doors, but what I think the commitment is, indisputably, is that it is possible to assume clearly, if nothing extraordinary happens, is the one expressed in the Government’s program,” of €600 next year, said Minister Jose Antonio Vieira da Silva.

However, Catarina Martins, coordinator of the Left Bloc, considers that there are conditions for an increase of the national minimum wage beyond €600 euros next year.

“We think that, as we begin to discuss the ‘Big Options’, there are two options that have to be very clear about these salaries: that the increase in the national minimum wage can go well beyond €600 in 2019, and that it is not acceptable that state workers no longer need increases, because we know the auxiliaries of schools, hospitals, health centers, all those who earn €600/700, that their salaries do not arrive until the end of the month and, therefore, we know that raising wages is an essential condition of dignity and economy,” said Martins.

The Left Bloc coordinator, who was speaking at the closing session of the 4th Feminist Meeting of the Left Bloc in Almada, considered that, although wage equality is a legal requirement in Portugal, it is verified that “more than half” the national minimum wage earners in Portugal are women, according to a report in Observador on Monday.

portugal minimum wage
Catarina Martins

“The way we organize our society, beyond the formal statement that there can be no wage inequality between men and women, is that the professions that are mostly occupied by women have lower wages. That is why it is also a concrete policy and a feminist policy to demand the increase of the national minimum wage and to demand for the rise of all the lowest wages in our society,” said Martins.

According to Portugal’s Minister of Labor, there are sectors where minimum wages of €700 and €650 have been negotiated, which are above the national minimum wage, but that there are sectors where “this evolution is not easy.”

The Portuguese government’s proposal on the 2019 Plan Options (GOP) foresees the hiring of civil servants in the coming year for the renewal of the cadres, but does not anticipate salary increases for state workers.

However, Carlos Silva, Secretary General of the General Union of Workers (UGT), said, “The minimum wage for Portuguese workers compared to other workers in Europe, especially Western Europe, is miserable.”

In April Portugal’s largest trade union federation, the CGTP, also called for the national minimum wage to be raised over €600.

According to Expatica:

In 2018 the government increased the Portuguese monthly minimum wage from €557 to €580. By the end of the parliament in 2019, the government has pledged to raise Portugal’s minimum wage beyond €600 for the first time).

The minimum salary in Portugal is calculated based on 14 payments in a year rather than 12, so if you’re paid 12 times a year instead, the minimum monthly wage is €676.67.

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