Having taken note of the Press Release of the Sindicato Ferroviário da Revisão Comercial Itinerante (SFRCI), dated 2020.07.05, with the title «Jornadas de Luta Greve na CP-Comboios de Portugal» [Days of Struggle Strike at CP-Comboios de Portugal], CP-Comboios de Portugal, E.P.E. (CP) deemed it necessary to clarify its workers and the general public of the following:
- CP is focused on strengthening the quality of service provided to its users, modernizing the company, investing in the railway industry, and dignifying the work of all its workers, without exception.
- The last few months have, in fact, been symptomatic and enlightening. Besides signing a new Public Service Obligations Contract, the company merged with EMEF, which was incorporated in CP, regained the railway’s industry prestige, and concluded three additional company agreements — two in CP and one in EMEF.
- The company agreements concluded resulted from a long negotiating process in which all parties — company and unions — acted in good faith, with loyalty and constructive spirit. Only then it was possible to obtain the agreement of all involved parties, under a climate of social peace that allow us to find good business solutions, for the sake of the company and its human capital.
- Pursuant to the new company agreements and of EMEF’s integration in CP, it is now important to update the existing career regulations, by integrating them in a single Career Regulation, capable of preparing the company to the challenges of the future and dignify the railway workers.
- To this end, on July 2, CP presented to SFRCI and other Representative Workers' Organizations, a working document to start the debate on the new Career Regulation.
The document presented, as clearly stressed to all unions, just represents the starting point for the beginning of the discussions and negotiations of the new Career Regulation, which will only now effectively begin.
That is why, it was with shock and surprise, that we were recently confronted with the notice of strike put forward by the SFRCI, which invokes, among other things, a disagreement with the said negotiating proposal.
Needless to say, and contrary to what SFRCI is invoking, CP does not intend to extinguish the categories of Ticket Inspector and Sales and Control Inspector. The initial document only suggests the merge of the two categories into a single category, Commercial Inspector, considering they already perform the same exact functions, keeping the currently existing specializations in the Ticket Inspection and Sales and Control departments.
- On the other hand, the company does not identify with nor acknowledges the demands regarding the operational management, since:
a) The total train offer at national level has been restored, except for the Alfa Pendular service, because there is no demand to justify it for the time being (total drop in demand of 80%). There would be no point in maintaining trains that would run empty, with the inherent costs and without the necessary revenues;
b) All operational workers are in service at 100%, except for long-distance workers, who are in service at rotating scales for the reasons described above;
c) To minimize the impact of the decrease in long-distance service on workers, CP has been proposing a single scale, a solution that has been rejected by the SFRCI management;
d) The offer on the Sintra/Azambuja Line has been 100% restored to the original offer since May 4. We agree, however, that there are small improvements that can be made, namely the transformation of 3 empty marches into commercial service, whose implementation at the present time is not justified, due to the low demand (opinion that has also been shared by the management of SFRCI), and that in the future will always require due negotiation and framework in the Public Service Obligations Contract;
e) There is no ban imposed on the Sintra/Azambuja Line that prevents Ticket Inspectors from performing their duties, on the contrary, priority was given to counting passengers precisely for follow-up and intervention in the occupancy rate in view of the limitations inherent to COVID-19.
- As for the payment of the variables in the months of March to April of the current, we do not understand the demand, since the company, with enormous financial effort, paid the variables to all workers as provided for in the applicable Company Agreements, even when exempted from attendance for confinement under the COVID-19 pandemic.
- As for the monitoring agent, the company is already in contact with the relevant sector and IMT for the purposes of the certification in question, it being certain that the monitoring service is being carried out in accordance with the rules in force.
- As for the secondments of workers at the ticket offices, the company complies, as it always has, with the recommendations of the health authorities, being worthy of note the very low incidence of contaminated workers, 15 in total, pointing out that there are only 3 occurrences likely to have occurred in the service of the company;
For all that was said, CP does not identify with the demands of the SFRCI, adding the fact that the company has always maintained an open and permanent dialogue, not only with this union, but also with the other Workers' Representative Organizations.
In this difficult period we are living, facing a health crisis and an economic and social crisis that has led to an increase in unemployment and an increase in Lay Off situations that penalize workers and their families, CP is proud to say that it has done everything and will do everything to ensure the welfare, health, job security and dignity of all its workers.
Therefore, the sense of responsibility and the dialogue and negotiation of all union structures are called for, as a way to overcome the differences that, naturally, may exist. Only this way will we be able to evolve.