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April 14, 2014
April 14, 2014

Portugal: Open letter to the prime minister

Author: António Mariano Translator: Gustavo Roxo
Source: Jornali  Category: Letters from home
This article is also available in: elhrpt-pt
Portugal: Open letter to the prime minister

We are tired of seeing our relatives, rights and dreams emigrate. We will keep fighting so that you are the next to leave.

Listen , Passos… my name is António Mariano , I have been Portuguese for 55 years, a docker for 35 and a union representative for 18. We have been elected –in my case by direct election, in yours indirect, you have been chosen by a majority of  representatives elected for the Parliament– to represent a certain universe.

I represent nearly 400 dockers that chose my team to be in front of our centenary work class, built in 1896, to represent our individual and collective interests as well as of those who will in the future have this risky but passionate job. You represent over 10 million citizens, in which the dockers are included. Everything else is a sea of conflicts that separate us, so different are the models of society and values we defend.

Let’s start by the values in which you base your professional training, I underline the Lie you incarnate, that you so well cultivate, that goes through your existence. I look at your example and start wondering how I could perform the job I’d been elected for if I were constantly lying to my partners, telling them today the opposite of what I’d told them yesterday, not fulfilling the promises of celestial music from the last election.

I can speculate on the huge conscience issues that would trouble me unless I were at the service of opposite interests of those who elected me, if I were bought. Fortunately the dockers would never allow me to have such behaviour and, at the very least, would have shown me the way out.

You cling to power but I imagine you have strong reasons for that, judging by your gurus, consultants and the rest of the people around you. It’s these bad influences, joined by the financial centres that sponsor you and rule the ports, who started the legislative robbery and the climate of impunity regarding the legal and contractual violations to which we have been subjected.

As you can now see by the agreement we signed on the 14th of February with the Lisbon bosses, our most significant achievment was the reinstatement of 47 dockers that had been fired. This struggle of ours should be yours, the struggle for employment of quality, with dignity that you should acknowledge to the Portuguese people, for real employment policies that avoid the bleeding of our young people and less young people into the rivers of unemployment, emigration, despair and death.

There’s not a day that goes by without you speaking of the efforts of the Portuguese, just like there’s not a day when you don’t disrespect them.We, the port workers, even during long processes of struggle, have never stopped ensuring the exports and imports that the country needs.What have you done besides making everything more difficult? Is there anyone with a worst productivity index? Even when being sure that for you the economy are the companies, when for me are the people. I don’t know anyone who has destroyed more the national economy, actually following the path of one predecessor of yours, accomplice in this ruling of yours.

The fury with which you take forward your ideological agenda is so radical that you are unable to look at the consequences for people’s lives. In the Lisbon Port, for example, which is the reality I know better, the irrationality of port law, which you have approved against everything and everyone, has led to 47 dockers being unfairly fired, when their job was crucial for the performance of the port. The bosses have recognised this and have committed to reinstate them all, but nothing erases the suffering of being jobless for one year. Do you have any idea what that means? I know well that you only care about the performance of exports –a reality you have hindered– but let me tell you that your intransigency has a tremendous impact in people’s lives. Unemployment is almost always to blame for other avatars, from divorce to depression, from giving up on having children to losing the house, from the lack of horizons to the illusionary escape of emigrating.

Passos, listen… we are tired of seeing our relatives, rights and dreams emigrate and we will keep fighting so that you understand quickly that the best for everyone is that you, your government and your bankers leave. Nobody will shed a tear when you sail off. This trip today is a condition for people to have hope in a better future tomorrow. It’s not enough surely, but everything will begin again in that day, whole and clean.

President of the Dockers Union , Traffic workers and Maritime Clerks of the Centre and South of Portugal.

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