Employees of the Tax and Customs Authority, a state service where around 10,700 people work, are going on strike in March, with stoppages every day of the week for three or six hours. It is a partial strike, with a stop in the first three hours of the working day (from 9am to 12pm) and in the last three hours (from 3pm to 5pm). Workers can choose to miss work in both periods or decide to strike only one of them.
The Tax Workers’ Union (STI), which called for the protest action on Wednesday, even admits to prolonging the strike every month until the end of the year if the labor demands that led to the call for the strike are not answered, among what are the problems related to the internal organization of the services and lack of career improvement.
If you have the support of workers in the Finance departments, in the central services, inspection or control, the daily stoppage could make it difficult to attend to the public. In the customs part, it will be mandatory to define minimum services, because of the control of the goods and the external security functions performed by the AT.
For now, the strike starts on the 1st of March and lasts until the 31st of that month. Those who work in shifts may strike in the first three hours and in the last three hours of each shift, “every day” of the month (at AT there are employees who work at the weekend, as is the case with customs). Whoever is on the cargo, liner or marina service scales will be able to strike according to the same model, in the first three and in the last three hours.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the union led by Ana Gamboa claims that in the last decade the AT has suffered from a “growing degradation” in its functioning, through the implementation of “measures that appear to want to empty the essential functions and authority” and that centralize and complicate procedures.
The STI considers that both the AT management, led by Helena Borges, and the Government have not responded to “many” of the problems that affect workers, nor have they given any sign that working conditions will improve. On the contrary, he says, “the disorganization in the functioning of the services is perpetuated, we continue to work with more and more pressure, with thousands of workers accusing physical and psychological exhaustion”.
At the same time, defends the union, procedures related to careers “either are at a standstill or progress slowly, or advance to the detriment of the workers themselves, in a human resources management policy that promotes discretion and the feeling of injustice among colleagues”.
At the strike notice, the STI identifies concrete problems: “There are tender procedures, permanent evaluation and mobility, some to be opened, others to be completed, whose announcement or opening took place more than a year ago”; most workers perform the function “with obsolete equipment”; there is a lack of reinforcement of staff “in the services most affected by the departure of workers for retirement” and a tender opened in early 2022 is still in the recruitment phase, and even the 180 vacancies are “manifestly insufficient”; the workers “placed in external border control are being increasingly targeted to perform imminently administrative functions, neglecting customs and fiscal control of goods and passengers”; and inspection functions “became robotic and administrative, and more and more obstacles to work are being created”, particularly after the creation of a law that reinforces taxpayers’ guarantees and procedural simplification.