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Rodoeste Bus Drivers Strike

Rodoeste drivers were on strike in front of the company’s facilities in Campo da Barca today.

Unafraid of identifying themselves, Rodoeste employees say they struggle on a daily basis to maintain better working conditions and improvements to their salaries. With approximately 70% of the workforce on strike, it was believed that 85% of all services were affected, said Manuel Oliveira, from the National Union of Drivers, who said that the body is already mandated to call for “new strike actions at a date that has yet to be agreed.”

It should be noted that in addition to the drivers from Rodoeste, some SAM personnel joined in as well.  In total, there were 60 professionals in front of the depot located in Campo da Barca.

Whilst talking to journalists, Manuel Oliveira said that workers feel ” that their employers disrespect them on a daily basis with regard to their working conditions and their remuneration conditions,” recalling that a proposal to build a collective labour contract “from scratch” was presented to ACIF. But the Commercial and Industrial Association of Funchal “decided not to answer us.

A request for conciliation was also requested from the Regional Directorate of Labour, which “did not summon the parties for this purpose”. Manuel Oliveira denounced that these situations are the underlying factors of today’s strike.

On the possibility of new strike actions, the trade unionist said “let’s hope we don’t have to do it, but this will depend on the openness of ACIF and DRT to promote negotiation.”

“What we want is to replace a completely obsolete and illegal collective bargaining agreement from the 1980s with a current one. We are talking about a CCT that, in no time, will be 50 years old. The drivers of Rodoeste want a salary update along the lines of the one made for the professionals of the company Horários do Funchal. We understand that the responsibilities of these workers are exactly the same as those of HF colleagues. We want equity with regard to the general clause of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and equality in the remuneration part. We are not asking for anything too much. If it was possible for HF, it is also possible for the private sector.”

In true strike fashion, the men had arranged a fire so that they could make sandwiches, declaring that they would remain there until St. Peter told them to go home.  They were referring to the weather and the wet weather front expected this afternoon.

The strike also surprised a number of passengers who were left waiting at bus stops for non existant buses.

Samantha Gannon

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