7 Mar 2010

National strike in Portugal mooted in May

8:17 am on 7 March 2010

Trade union leaders in Portugal have called for a nationwide protest in May, following a public sector strike on Thursday over pay cuts.

Trade union officials say they are fighting to retain "what little they have" amid a wave of spending cuts aimed at reducing a bloated budget deficit.

The deficit tripled to a record 9.3% last year as the government increased spending during the recession.

The BBC reports pay cuts are already written into the budget for 2010, alongside a commitment not to replace half of the civil servants who leave. There is also a 50% tax on bonuses for bankers.

The government says it will cut the budget deficit by 1% this year, mainly through increased economic growth.

It is also committed to reducing the deficit to 3% of GDP by 2013.