The largest Portuguese unions banded together and went on joint general strike today, the first of its kind since 1988, the New York Times reports. The unions, protesting a government austerity plan amid a debt crisis, halted trains, buses, planes, health care, and banking services. “What’s coming for the new generation is very sad. I don’t see a solution for them aside from emigrating,” said a former teacher.
Unions were angered by the minority Socialist government’s public services spending cuts. The workers “are paying for the crisis, not the bankers nor the shareholders of big companies,” said a retiree. “This is a strike against rightist policies, to demand new policies serving the Portuguese people.” But some slammed the strike. “The Portuguese have to understand that there is no money and if there is no money people have to work to get it,” said one observer.