Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Greens and Portuguese Communist Party Combine i n National Elections; A word On Health and Labor Rights

by Mike Tolochko

The Greens and the Portuguese Communist Party United in Elections: A Word About National Health & Workers Rights: The 1975 Constitution

In the last national elections, the Portuguese Communist Party and the Portuguese Green Party coalitioned under the banner of the CDU: The United Democratic Coalition. In those elections, 4 years ago the CDU elected 15 for the national parliament. The Parliament has a total of 230. The 15 number is determined by the voting strength at the polls and the use of proportional representation. Within the CDU, the PCP won 13 and the Greens 2 to the Parliament.

In the upcoming September 27th elections the CDU will again be the coalition to run. This very different from the actions of the Green Party of Germany and France which acts as a front for corporate interests and opposes labor unions and peoples' economic and social rights.

A Word About Health and Workers' Rights/Vacations

The peoples' victory over the Dictatorship in April 25, 1974 brought about the demand for a new constitution. The dictatorship's constitution was completely discarded and for over a year the peoples' movements discussed and debated a new one. On April 2, 1976 a new Constitution was made legal.

In that Constitution a new set of labor and workers rights were emblazoned in print and law. More on that soon.

In the field of health rights for the people, the Constitution made health care a legal right for all Portuguese. This would cover both the private and public sectors. However, about 30 years later, in 2004, changes started creeping into the system stemming from the lessoning of public financing support for the national health care systems of public hospitals and salaried physicians. This has cleared the way for private insurance companies to offer policies to fill the gaps. Sound familiar?

More on this soon.

Under current law, every worker receives 22 days of vacation a year. Under the labor code there is a possibility of adding 3 days.

A Travel Note:

In traveling by car from Lisbon to the southeast areas, you travel over a relatively new bridge that bears a resemblance to the San Francisco Bay Bridge. In fact, with the small streetcars, which resemble the cable cars of the San Francisco in the historic Alfama District; and, the common disasters of earthquakes and fire, in Lisbon in the mid-1770s and in San Francisco in 1906….the comparison are very significant.

That bridge was finished during the Dictatorship in the mid-1960s and it was named the Salazar Bridge. After the revolution, the bridge is now named, the April 25th Bridge.

Stay tuned………..