Right to civil liberties
On the morning of 23 August 2021, a leader of the Algarve Hotel Industry Union, accompanied by two union delegates, was arrested while distributing union information to the workers of the Hapimag Resort Albufeira, Portugal. Hotel management called in the National Republican Guard (GNR) to prevent the union leader from carrying out his trade union activities inside the establishment, a right foreseen in the constitution of the Portuguese republic, in the labour code and in the collective agreement for the tourism sector.
The union leader tried to explain to the GNR officers that they were exercising a constitutional right, but the GNR officers complied with the employer's request and detained the union leader, taking him to the Albufeira police station. The leader was charged and summoned to appear before the Albufeira Court.
The Algarve Hotel Industry Union and the Algarve Hotel Workers’ Union both publicly supported the worker concerned. His union, Sindicato dos Trabalhadores da Indústria de Hotelaria, Turismo, Restaurantes e Similares do Algarve (Hotel, Tourism, Restaurant and Allied Workers of the Algarve), recalled that the management of Hapimag Resort Albufeira had recently suspended the union delegates from their duties as head and deputy head of kitchen for demanding the improvement of working conditions.
The workers’ main grievances included poor working conditions and the violation of health and safety standards, issues that they had been trying to solve through negotiation for two years.