Justice officials resume today strikes that could extend until the end of the year

The unions estimate the measures already postponed by the strikes at many thousands

Judicial employees are back on strike today, with a one-day stoppage called by the Union of Judicial Officials and the first day of another four months of typical, but also creative, strikes by the Union of Judicial Employees.

«It will be a mixture of traditional, full-day strikes, which will not coincide throughout the national territory, which will be complemented with strikes by courts, nuclei, districts or municipalities, depending on the size of the courts», which will start at the hour of that the first diligence is designated in that court, ending at 12:00 or 17:00, depending on whether they start in the morning or in the afternoon, explained António Marçal to Lusa.

The president of the Union of Judicial Employees (SFJ) said that the strikes had been called, but the workers would like "not to do them, as long as the Ministry of Justice effectively begins to respond in a concrete and thorough way" to the "reasonable and fair, as everyone recognizes".

The demands of the SFJ, which already motivated a traditional strike, throughout the day, last Friday, to mark the reopening of the courts after the judicial holidays, are maintained and involve ensuring the immediate opening of a competition for access to all positions and categories that are vacant and the inclusion of the procedural recovery supplement at maturity, also retroactive to January 2021 and paid in 14 months, as, recalls the union, was foreseen in two State Budgets.

Within the scope of collective bargaining, the SFJ wants a review of professional status that dignifies the career, but also a special retirement regime and a multi-annual competition to fill vacant positions.

The Union of Justice Officers announced last week a national strike for today, lasting just one day, but admitting that the fight will worsen “if the Government maintains the governmental arrogance it has shown”.

In the statement issued at the time, the union recalled that it had been on strike since the beginning of January this year and criticized the "deafening silence" and "inaction" of the Minister of Justice in relation to the "fair claims" of judicial officials, including the inclusion in the salary of the procedural recovery supplement retroactive to January 2021 and payment in 14 months, the opening of promotions and new posts and a specific retirement regime for these professionals.

In successive strikes since the beginning of the year, the unions of judicial employees have placed on the Minister of Justice, Catarina Sarmento e Castro, and on the Government the burden of halting the stoppages that, as the minister acknowledged on the sidelines of the Trade Union Congress of the Portuguese Judges (ASJP), in March, in Funchal, are «destroying Justice».

The unions estimate that many thousands of steps have already been postponed due to the stoppages, in a number of more than 100 thousand, according to calculations by the SFJ, but if all the acts are taken into account, such as citations, notifications and others, they could exceed five million acts to be fulfilled.

«With the continuation of the protest and, mainly, a lack of commitment by the Ministry of Justice to strengthen human resources, this will tend to get worse and recovering this lost time will take around two years», highlighted António Marçal in statements to Lusa last week.

The Minister of Justice has referred the resolution of union demands to the new professional statutes and on Friday promised to publish the Government's project to review the statutes in the "next few days", with the SFJ reacting with its willingness to stop the fight when concrete proposals are known and not in the face of what he classified as “just another announcement”.