Portuguese Military Associations want to be heard by the Minister of Defence on careers and wages

27 May 2024

On Saturday 25 May 2024, the Armed Forces’ Sergeants’, Officers’ and Enlisteds’ associations, unanimously approved a motion to hand over to the Minister of Defence, who they hope to hear from soon, about wages and careers.

This position was conveyed to journalists at a press conference at the Santo Amaro Academy in Lisbon, at the end of a meeting organised by the boards of the National Sergeants’ Association, the Armed Forces Officers’ Association and the Enlisteds’ Association, on their socio-professional conditions. All these three organizations representing military personnel are members of EUROMIL.

“We’ve seen various professional sectors negotiate with their respective authorities, from education to health to security and others, to justice, and with the military what we heard was the Minister of Defence saying that he would be meeting with the Minister of Finance and the military leadership,” lamented the president of the National Sergeants’ Association (ANS), who spoke on behalf of the three associations.

António Lima Coelho pointed out that “the socio-professional associations of the military have their own law that recognises them” and considered that “both the political leadership and the military leadership are slow to understand the scope of this law and to integrate the professional associations into the discussion of socio-professional problems”.

The military associations are demanding, “first and foremost, a review of a remuneration system that has been in force since 1 January 2010 and has not been discussed since 2009, with occasional patches here and there”, as well as “career development that is slow to become uniform and, above all, matters that bring attractiveness and retention”, he said.

As a result of the approved motion, they hope that “the Minister of National Defence will then find an agenda to meet with the professional associations, together or separately”, so that they can start “working effectively to find solutions”, said the Sergeant-Major.

“Solutions that should not involve waiting for what may or may not be found for the professionals of the security forces and services – with all the respect that these professionals deserve and the solidarity that we have with them,” he argued.

According to the president of the ANS, “it’s good that their [the security forces and services] situations are resolved”, but “they can’t be moulded for the military of the Armed Forces”, because “the mission, the specificity is completely different”.

“The military must find its own solutions,” he emphasised.

Asked if any protest actions were planned by the military associations, Lima Coelho replied: “For the time being, no concrete actions are being considered here, but none can be ruled out from all those that we have used and had as a mechanism in the past, and others that our imagination and creativity may come up with, although we defend the principle that it is not desirable for the military to have to demonstrate publicly.”

The president of the ANS blamed “successive governments” for the “poor state of the Armed Forces” and called for attention to be paid to the “conditions of attractiveness, retention and quality of work and life” of the military.

“We have never had such a low number of personnel. However, there are more and more missions, many of them for the good name and pleasure of successive government representatives,” he criticised.

Lima Coelho said that the military carry out these missions “to the best of their ability”, in some cases with “equipment that is starting to look very obsolete”, adding: “But there are limits to what are labour rights, citizenship rights, and we have to take them back.”

Following the “Military Meeting”, today, 27 May 2024, at 5.30pm, a delegation of the military associations’ leaders will deliver to the Minister of National Defence the “Motion” unanimously approved at the end of the meeting.

The associations believes that it is necessary to “keep the trench garrisoned”, close ranks and resist the obvious decline of one of the fundamental pillars of the State and of national sovereignty and independence – the Portuguese Armed Forces!

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