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Strike by government workers in Portugal disrupts services

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — A 24-hour strike by Portuguese government workers over pay and working hours is disrupting public services, especially in the national health service and the state education system.

Some junior and high schools canceled classes, while hospitals postponed many non-urgent medical appointments. Doctors and nurses did not walk off the job, but auxiliary staff stayed away from work. Disruption was also expected at government departments.

The National Federation of Government Workers’ Unions, which represents more than 300,000 civil servants, called Friday’s walkout to demand wage increases, the payment of outstanding overtime and a 35-hour work week for all staff, not just those on collective contracts.

The number of strikes in Portugal has declined sharply since the current center-left Socialist government began reversing austerity measures adopted during a recent financial crisis.

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