Unions say CP bar workers were illegally prevented from working

The company Risto Rail will meet with Porto workers next Monday, followed by a plenary of workers to decide the measures to be taken.

Cristina Bernardo

Hotel and tourism unions said on Saturday that the 120 workers in the bars of long-distance trains came to the service but were prevented from performing their duties, which they consider illegal and will sue the authorities.

In a statement, the Federation of Agriculture, Food, Beverages, Hospitality and Tourism Trade Unions of Portugal (Fesah, affects CGTP) said that, after four months of lay-off, 120 workers showed up at 9am (Lisbon time) at Campanhã and Santa Apolónia stations to occupy their jobs, but “they were faced with stopped activity, they were prohibited from accessing the workplace (trains), they were refused work and working conditions, as well as working instruments ”.

Fesah attributes this “guilty behavior” to the companies Risto Rail and CP - Comboios de Portugal, which it considers to have practiced 'lock-out', which it says is illegal.

The “closing of the train bars is illegal and constitutes a crime, punishable under the provisions of Articles 311, 312 and 316 of the Labor Code with prison terms of up to 2 years and fine up to 240 days, ”reads the statement.

The unions will now request the intervention of the Working Conditions Authority (ACT), demanding the lifting of news reports and the imposition of fines, and will also communicate to the Public Prosecutor's Office what they consider to be the “illegal closure of bars”.

The workers, on the other hand, held protests in front of the stations of Campanhã (Porto) and Santa Apolónia (Lisbon) to demand the occupation of their jobs, and by midday Risto Rail informed the workers that CP did not respond to their proposal resumption of the bar service, so the bars will continue to be closed and the company will resort to state support, with a 70% reduction in hours and which will await the response of the CP.

The workers, according to the statement, replied that "they no longer accept wage cuts, they demanded the effective occupation, the payment of wages to 100% and the guarantee of the jobs".

The company Risto Rail will meet with Porto workers next Monday, followed by a plenary of workers to decide the measures to be taken.

CP and Risto Rail (a group company that provides services in the bars of long-distance trains) have been in negotiations for the last few days to try to reach an agreement. The bar service of the alpha commuting and intercity trains has been suspended since March 19, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the two companies negotiating the molds in which it will be resumed.

The 120 workers demand the resumption of services and their functions, refusing further cuts.

Franscisco Figueiredo, from Fesah's management, told Lusa that what is happening is illegal, since workers have the right to occupy their jobs and exercise their professional functions, but also that the suspension of service is a “Irresponsibility on the part of CP” by allowing passengers to travel for several hours without access to drinks and food (for example, three hours on the Porto-Lisbon connection or seven hours on the connection between Minho and Algarve or even more hours if there are accidents on the track or other problems and trains have to remain stationary).

"This service is essential, we do not understand this greed of the CP", said the union leader to Lusa.

Even Fesah, over the four months of 'lay off', each worker had salary losses of more than one thousand euros in a universe of workers with low wages.

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