Bloco de Esquerda. Photo: wikimedia commons Bloco de Esquerda. Photo: wikimedia commons

At the meeting between the PS [Socialist Party] leader and the president of the CIP, the employer confederation argued that the next government should be supported by “agreements during each budget”, which may include the PSD 

Introduction and context from Orlando Hill, who translated this piece

The Portugese constitutional government that ruled the country from November 2015 to this month was a result of an agreement between the centre-left Socialist Party (PS) and three left-wing parties, Bloco de Esquerda (Left Bloc), the Communists and the Greens. The one representative of the People, Animal and Nature Party (PAN) also supported the government. This alliance became commonly known as the “geringonça” (contraption). 

According to Catarina Martins, leader of the Bloco de Esquerda, the geringonça had “prevented setbacks and ensured a stable path of recovery and respect for [workers’] rights and income”. 

In this month’s legislative elections, the PS won enough seats (106) to form a government. The centre-right Social Democratic Party (PSD) despite its worst performance in its history managed to secure 77 seats. The Bloco de Esquerda maintained its 19 seats guaranteeing its position as the third force in parliament.  

The Bloco de Esquerda had intended to carry on with the “geringonça”. In a meeting with the PS it set out the basis of a new agreement which consisted of eliminating the employment rules introduced during the Troika memorandum (2011-14), introducing a policy of increasing the minimum wage and an end to the discrimination against young people seeking their first job. 

After a meeting with the Confederation of Portuguese Industry, the PS announced that it would abandon the gerionça and form a government on its own. This meeting is described in the article below.


Four days after the legislative elections that brought a historic defeat for the right-wing parties, the Confederation of Portuguese Industry presented the leader of the PS with a peculiar reading of the result. After all, according to the Portuguese bosses, it was those who most defended the reversal of the changes to employment laws, made by the right-wing parties during the term of the troika memorandum, who were punished by the electorate. 

At the meeting on the previous day between the Bloco de Esquerda [Left Bloc] and the PS, the reversal of these measures – such as a cut in holiday days, a reduction in redundancy compensation or overtime payment – was set out in the “specifications” for negotiation of a four-year government program “that gives stability to people’s lives”.

But for the confederation of bosses, this refund of wages and returns of rights must be off the agenda of the next legislature. “The employment legislation we have is more than enough for the country to develop its economic activities with peace of mind,” said CIP leader António Saraiva, cited by Lusa News Agency.

The representative of the bosses also took the opportunity to persuade the leader of the future government to resist further increases in the minimum wage, which were proposed by various parties on the left in their manifestos. Regardless of the positive evolution of the economic indicators in the last four years, in which the agreement between the Bloco de Esquerda and the PS allowed a sustained annual increase in the national minimum wage from 505 euros to 600 euros a month, António Saraiva insisted on the idea that “we cannot continue to increase the minimum wage beyond the conditions that the economy can support.”

As for the parliamentary base on which the PS government should support itself over the next four years, the bosses reject a repeat of the agreements signed in the past legislature. “If we read these same agreements, we realize that they were fragile agreements,” said Antonio Saraiva, predicting that “what this legislature will have is what the previous one had, agreements during each budget.”

Agreements that the CIP believe should go through the largest opposition party [PSD], which “as the responsible party” may “support the legislative measures the country needs”. “We cannot just look for a balancing support on the left. We must make sure that this government is able to find a balancing support on its right, too, and that parliamentary majorities have variable geometry both on the left and the right,” said the president of the CIP.