LISBON, Portugal – Portugal's new Socialist government is on a collision course with trade unions over how quickly to restore civil servants' traditional 35-hour working week, down from the current 40 hours.
The center-left Socialist Party promised ahead of its election last November to cut government workers' hours as part of a drive to reverse unpopular austerity measures enacted after Portugal's 78 billion-euro ($85 billion) bailout in 2011. The promise was one of many that enabled the Socialists to forge an alliance with the Communist Party and radical Left Bloc and take power.
The government said Wednesday it intends to make the change by July, but labor groups want it sooner and are threatening to strike to get their way.
The government is already restoring civil servants' pay that was cut.