Today’s strike that is affecting all Horários do Funchal bus services is based on a union demand that the integration of the single agent subsidy within the salary scale reinstated. The payment of the subsidy was suspended between March and May, following the measures to contain the pandemic and was replaced by another subsidy of equal value referred to as the Covid-19 subsidy.
The strike has sparked further controversy as the bus company fought against a request that a minimum of services be provided. In response, the President of the Union of Drivers, Manuel Oliveira, stated that the request was not legal and that no worker should be punished for wanting to strike.
However, Horários do Funchal did issue a statement saying that a minimum service will be guaranteed throughout the 24 hour strike period, and that the decision to strike only arose after “all the negotiation mechanisms with the various unions, including the National Drivers’ Union, in conjunction with the Union of Road Workers and Metallurgical Activities of the Autonomous Region of Madeira, were exhausted.
On the 29th of July, union officials met with the vice president of the Regional Government, who had offered to mediate. In response, the union leader maintained that they were grateful for his offer, but, although a meeting has been ‘scheduled’ no actual date was fixed. Furthermore, announced Manuel Oliveira the “strike was already in hand and if these ‘meetings’ fail to produce the desired effects, further industrial action will follow.”
The Horários do Funchal group, comprises of public transport companies Horários do Funchal and Companhia dos Carros de São Gonçalo. The group employs 340 drivers and is 100% owned by the Regional Government of Madeira, PSD / CDS-PP coalition.
As a result, and despite social distancing measures, today’s buses were packed to the gills, and some passengers had to wait an hour for a bus.
This really could be the summer of discontent!
info at madeira-weekly.com