Portuguese trade unions strike over austerity

Portuguese trade unions hold major strike over austerity; public services expected to shut

Associated Press
Portuguese unions hold major anti-austerity strike

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A security guard closes a gate of a subway station in Lisbon, at the start of a general strike, Wednesday night, June 26 2013. Workers' unions called a 24-hour general strike for June 27 to protest the government's austerity measures and the Lisbon subway will be closed until Friday morning. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

LISBON, Portugal (AP) -- Public transport and government offices are expected to be the worst-hit services as Portugal's two trade union confederations stage a national 24-hour strike against austerity measures.

Unions representing about 1 million workers are protesting Thursday against debt-cutting measures Portugal was compelled to adopt by creditors in return for a 78 billion euros ($102 billion) bailout two years ago.

Public sector pay cuts and hikes in taxes on sales and private and corporate income have contributed to the economy's downward spiral, with the jobless rate growing to 17.8 percent and a third straight year of recession forecast in 2013.

The General Confederation of Portuguese Workers and the General Workers' Union want the center-right government to ease off the austerity measures and take more steps to create jobs and growth.

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