The Algarve Hotel Workers' Union has said that low salaries paid in the sector are hindering the return to work of thousands of people since the Covid-19 pandemic.
The main reason for the lack of workers is, "first and foremost, the low wages paid in the sector, which do not allow workers to meet their basic needs", Tiago Jacinto, coordinator of the Algarve's Trade Union of Hotel, Tourism, Restaurant and Similar Industry, said in a press conference.
The union noted that "the sector's employers are once again complaining about the difficulty in hiring the workers they need," and that "they insist that the solution to the problem is for the Government to facilitate the recruitment of workers abroad".
The sector's businessmen claim that despite there being thousands of people in the sector receiving unemployment benefits under measures implemented during the pandemic, when they are called for job opportunities, they refuse to return to their companies.
For workers' representatives, other factors play a part alongside the low salaries offered, such as "increasingly deregulated working hours, and long working hours, which make it impossible for workers to reconcile their professional lives with their personal and family lives".
Another problem has to do with the precariousness that is "generalised throughout the sector", with temporary work companies, mostly illegal fixed-term contracts, false provision of services, or trainees occupying permanent jobs.
The Algarve's Union of Hotel and Similar Industry Workers also pointed the finger at the closure of establishments in the low season "to avoid permanent jobs", arguing that workers "need to live all year round".
Tiago Jacinto denounced "the increase in work harassment and repression", particularly of workers who demand the fulfilment of rights and pay improvements, among others.
The trade unionist states that he is not against the possibility of foreign workers coming to Portugal but stressed that the reasons mentioned are "what is driving workers away".
"For a quality tourism sector, it is essential to value work and workers and to share with them the wealth created in a fair way and to give them better conditions", defended Tiago Jacinto.
The workers' representative then called for a series of measures to be implemented, such as a minimum wage increase of 90 euros per month or a national minimum wage of 800 euros per month as of July 1.