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Portugal austerity measures nixed

AFP-JIJI

Portugal’s Constitutional Court struck down a key provision of the government’s latest austerity program Thursday, once again throwing the country’s EU-International Monetary Fund bailout into confusion.

Court President Joaquim Sousa Ribeiro told a news conference a government plan that could lead to job losses for civil servants is against the country’s “job safety guarantee” and therefore unconstitutional.

The plan is part of the latest round of austerity introduced by the government of Pedro Passos Coelho and is designed to slash 30,000 public jobs from a pool of 500,000, saving €4.7 billion ($6.2 billion) by the end of next year.

The program in question offers civil servants up for re-qualification 63 percent of their salary for the first six months of looking for a new position and 50 percent for the second six months. If they have not found a new post by then, they risk losing their jobs.