Train operator debt needs to be solved – minister

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Portugal’s minister for infrastructure said on Thursday that the resolution of CP’s historic debt is “decisive for restoring normality” to the company and said he believed that “the social peace” achieved between management and the unions is not at risk.

CP is Portugal’s incumbent train operator that runs all trains in the country except for some services over the 25 Abril bridge between Lisbin and towns on the south bank.

“CP is a solid company, with a future, with indicators that still don’t satisfy us, but they are on a path to recovery, and we want to consolidate that path, but one of the fundamental elements of this process of restructuring, modernising and consolidating CP is the resolution of the historical debt,” said the minister for infrastructure, João Galamba.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a visit to CP’s workshops in Contumil, Porto, João Galamba said that the reorganisation of CP’s debt would allow the company to “operate normally” but also to “enter high speed”.

“We’re actively working with the ministry of finance to resolve this issue. It’s a measure included in the budget for 2023 and will be implemented before the end of the year,” he added.

Emphasising that this is “a difficult path” that can’t be done overnight, the minister said he understood the dissatisfaction of many Portuguese with the quality of the service provided by the company but called on them to understand that the government and management were making an effort.

“We also ask them to understand that we are making an effort,” he said while recognising that CP “had not provided a good service to the Portuguese in the first six months” of this year.

“More important now than emphasising the difficulty of the first few months, I’d like to congratulate CP for having managed to reach an agreement with all the unions in a difficult climate,” he said.

Asked about the possibility of new strikes, the minister assured that “this difficult period is behind us”.

“At the moment, we have no reason, nor any data, to suspect that social peace could be at risk,” he said, adding that both CP’s management and the government are available to negotiate with the unions, but “with one value above all, which is the sustainability and viability of CP as a public transport company”.

Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi

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