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Portugal Dock Worker Strike Adds To Unemployment Injury

Perhaps Portugal can be happy that it is not exactly at the same point as Greece, but things are continuing to look really bad.  The national statistics institute in Portugal released data showing that the official unemployment rate for the 2nd quarter of 2012 was projected to be 15.0%, which is 2.9 percentage points higher than a year ago and is also up by 0.1 percentage points from the first quarter of this year.

And now the dock workers are going on strike to fight the cuts coming down the pipe.

The Portuguese report said that there were 826.9 thousand unemployed people, which corresponds to an year-on-year increase of 22.5% and to a quarterly increase of 0.9%. There were 4.6882 million employed people, which corresponds to an year-on-year decrease of 4.2% and to a quarterly increase of 0.6%.

Back to the dock worker strike… The Portugal News Online has said, “Workers at several Portuguese ports are on strike from midnight Monday until 8:00 a.m. Wednesday against new labour legislation with several vessels already diverted to Spain.”  The claim is that the port authorities will hire unqualified workers as it reassigns the current port workers’ tasks to where half of them have nothing to do.

The current labor situation is in a Catch-22 in Portugal (and elsewhere in Europe).  Cuts are coming, like it or not.  The old ways will just not fly in these down and out nations which are in need of serious financial help. Still, it is easy to see the workers’ side of the argument at the same time as they are trying to work within the confines of what they have known their entire career.

All you have to do is look at Portugal Telecom, SGPS S.A. (NYSE: PT) and see that its ADRs have now been cut in half in the share price.  Could you imagine of the giant telecom players in America seeing its shares cut in half?

JON C. OGG