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INE workers threaten strike 03 Mar�o 2015

The employees of the National Statistics Institute (INE) say they are perplexed at the fact that the government “does not seem minimally interested in naming the vice-president and an administrator to complete the institute’s Board of Directors.” The workers, who stress that the process has dragged on for several years now, say they are willing to resort to other forms of protest, including a strike, to see the issue resolved.

INE workers threaten strike

Labor union SISCAP, which represents the workers, affirms that the fact that the INE’s Board of Directors has been incomplete for several years prevents a number of important human resource management tools from being approved for subsequent submission to and approval by the government. The consequences of this situation are being felt by the workers, whose career progressions and promotions have been at a standstill since 2011.

According to the union, INE’s current statutes were published on February 17, 2012 and went into effect on March 18 of the same year. Its management instruments, namely its Personnel Statutes, Personnel Staff Structure, Professional Career Regulations and Remuneration System, should have been approved within 90 days thereafter – something that has yet to happen.

These omissions put the workers in an uncomfortable situation, one that has led the union to meet on several occasions with INE CEO António Duarte, who also feels bound and powerless in the matter. Given that the impasse had dragged on for so long, in December of 2013 the workers requested the intervention of the government’s State Reform department, which is the direct responsibility of the Prime Minister’s office, in order to force the Board of Directors to be completed so that the instruments could be approved. SISCAP laments, however, the absence of feedback since then.

Meanwhile, following Law-Decree nº 48/2013, which says that the INE is now under the authority of the cabinet member responsible for the area of Finances and Planning, the workers met once again in an assembly and requested a meeting with Minister of Finances and Planning Cristina Duarte in order to explain the constraints felt and ask for her to intervene in order to ensure the completion of the Board of Directors as soon as possible.

According to Joaquim Tavares, the Ministry of Finances opted to instruct the CEO to meet with the delegation of workers, headed by a SISCAP union official, despite the knowledge that António Duarte did not have the power to resolve the situation leading to the request for the meeting. “The question of financial availability is not an issue, as the funds for the other members of the Board of Directors have been included in the State Budget since 2010,” he says.

In the face of the impasse, INE’s workers and the union representing them have called on good sense to resolve the situation, and warn that they have not ruled out the possibility of resorting to other forms of pressure, including a strike, to see the matter resolved.

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