Portugal's opposition criticises court decision on salary cuts

GMT 20:58 2014 Friday ,15 August

Arab Today, arab today Portugal's opposition criticises court decision on salary cuts

Salary cuts
Lisbon - XINHUA

Portugal's main opposition Socialist Party criticized the center-right government for"tailoring and sewing" after the country's Constitutional Court partially approved government austerity measures on Thursday evening.
The court approved salary cuts for public sector workers in 2014 and 2015 but rejected government's proposal to cut public sector salaries between 2016 and 2018 and to impose tax on public sector pensions.
The head of the court, Joaquim Sousa Ribeiro, told journalists that the cuts for 2014 and 2015 had been approved because these were "exceptional" years for Portugal.
However, Socialist lawmaker Antonio Gameiro opposed further cuts, saying the solution to the crisis was growth and a new economic strategy.
"What hope can the Portuguese have, if they see in this government of tailoring and sewing, always on the same incomes and people?" asked Gameiro at the Parliament on Thursday.
He emphasized that the country had to encourage growth through an economic development strategy focusing on small and medium companies and exports.
Gameiro said the pension cuts were an "attack" which the Socialist Party vetoed and its secretary-general Antonio Jose Seguro has said he would revoke due to being "unjust" and "immoral."
The Communist party also said the fact that the Constitutional Court hadn't ruled out salary cuts for 2014 and 2015 didn't make the court's decisions "less unjust," adding that the country had given 4.5 billion euros to the country's largest private bank BES, which had to be rescued to save it from collapse.
The government's successive austerity measures are intended to give more leeway to cut the budget deficit but have come at a high price, putting welfare and labor entitlements at stake.
Opposition parties have piled on pressure to soften austerity since the government signed a 78-billion-euro bailout program with troika of its international lenders -- the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank in May 2011. The bailout program officially ended in May this year.
The country saw several of its proposed austerity measures blocked last year, but it still has to meet its budget deficit targets of 4 percent this year and 2.5 percent next year set by troika.

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