GUE/NGL MEPs have expressed their indignation with the Portuguese government's plans to privatise a strategic public shipyard in Viana do Castelo, which would see over 600 workers lose their jobs.

The MEPs met representatives from the Viana do Castelo shipyard (ENVC) workers' committee this morning at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Portuguese MEP João Ferreira told the workers they have the Group's full solidarity and described the government's actions as a deliberate attempt to “make an example of the workers”.

He said: “These workers are specifically being targeted by the government because of their commitment to workers' unity. They have been courageous in their struggle and they must remain united against this ultra-neoliberal government that wants to shutdown shipbuilding in Portugal.”

Portuguese MEP Marisa Matias, who also expressed the GUE/NGL's solidarity with the workers, said: “The Portuguese government are doing this on purpose. They plan to sell off the company for EUR 7 million, but if workers are made redundant the cost to the state will be much more in terms of welfare payments. So this would be a loss for the government, it won't do anything to balance the budget. We also have to consider the effects on other workers who rely on the company for employment in an indirect way such as those who work for subcontractors.”

GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer concluded the exchange of views: “We are in no doubt that the Portuguese workers' jobs must be kept, and we must fight for them as part of a coordinated European campaign to resist these liberalisation drives which we are seeing in many EU countries.”

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group

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