Tourism workers demand “better wages”, bosses want “less taxes”

Celebrations of World Tourism Day, in Albufeira, marked by a protest by workers in the sector and messages from bosses to the Government

Photos: Pedro Lemos | Sul Informação

Better salaries and a “greater distribution” of the “many millions of euros” that have been generated from tourist activity over the years. This is what the Union of Hotel, Tourism, Restaurant and Similar Industry Workers of the Algarve demanded this afternoon from employers and the Government, in a protest taking place at the Hotel NAU Salgados Palace, in Albufeira.

Bosses, on the other hand, warn that “less taxes” are a fundamental condition for increasing wages in the sector.

Today, World Tourism Day, the Confederation of Tourism of Portugal (CTP) and the Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises of the Algarve, are promoting a conference where the Minister of Economy has already been present and where the President of the Republic will also be present.

And it was salaries that were talked about most, first outside the doors, by the protesters, and, later, inside the conference room, by the president of the CTP.

«Our main demand is wages, which are very low in this sector. (…) This does not allow us to face the increase in the cost of living that is taking place”, he assured the Sul Informação Tiago Jacinto, from the Algarve Hotel Industry Union.

«Companies have raised many millions over the years – and this year this is happening again – but this has not been matched by the improvement of workers' purchasing power», he reinforces.

Shortly afterwards, in the opening session of the conference, Francisco Calheiros, president of the Portuguese Tourism Confederation admitted that «increasing salaries is necessary, yes», but warned that «also reducing taxes», to make these increases viable.

This was a message addressed to António Costa Silva, who was also targeted by unionists.

«We are going to have the main bosses of the sector gathered here and the Government is also here, which has a great responsibility for what workers are currently experiencing, because it maintains serious standards of labor legislation», said Tiago Jacinto.

«Ultimately, what we want is to meet, dialogue and negotiate, but this has been constantly refused. We need our salaries to be valued», assured the union leader.

With the salaries that are currently offered, «people don't want to stay in the sector. They start working, but then, after a short time, they want to leave,” he concluded.

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