Thousands of public and private sector workers from across the country demonstrated in Lisbon on Saturday to demand wage increases and measures to address the rising cost of living. For the whole of 2022, Portugal's inflation rate reached a historically high level of 7.8%, the highest in 30 years.

This demonstration, called by the General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (CGTP), comes the day after a national strike of civil servants, to demand wage increases, which affected waste collection, the operation of schools and hospitals. The CGTP, Portugal's main trade union confederation, is also demanding price controls on essential goods, aid to curb rising rents and mortgages, and measures to combat precariousness.

"Wage increases of at least 10%"

"The cost of living is becoming unbearable" or "it is unacceptable to get poorer while working," chanted the demonstrators who marched in the main avenue of the Portuguese capital. "The situation is getting really difficult!" said Inacio Catela, a 61-year-old distribution agent from Torres Vedras, about sixty kilometres north of Lisbon. "It is urgent to upgrade our work, our careers and our salaries," said Raquel Silva, 42, an administrative worker at a hospital in the centre of the country.

"We demand an increase in wages, but a real increase, higher than inflation, which will restore and strengthen the purchasing power of families," CGTP General Secretary Isabel Camarinha said at the end of the march. "We want wage increases of at least 10% and never less than 100 euros for all employees," she said.

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