Portuguese strikers halted trains, shut ports and paralyzed most public transport on Thursday in protest at austerity measures and labor reforms imposed as a condition of a EUR€78 billion (USD$103 billion) EU-IMF bailout.
Armenio Carlos, the new Communist leader of CGTP, the country's largest union, wants its 700,000 members to send a signal to the government that the country will no longer tolerate the erosion of workers' rights, lower salaries and record high unemployment.
The union could not say how many of its members had responded to the strike call, but said the country's rail transport was crippled, including the international Lisbon-Madrid route. Lisbon's underground was shut at midnight. Many hospitals were only accepting emergencies.
There was little evidence of participation in the private sector, however, with flag carrier airline TAP flying, and Lisbon airport functioning as normal.