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The government's argument that the unemployed don't want to work because unemployment benefit is too generous has been rejected by the General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (CGTP), Diario de Noticias reports.
The government job centres (IEFP) announced last week that there are 18,000 unfilled job vacancies whilst the number of job seekers registered with IEFP was up by 19.6% in February 2010 compared to the same month in 2009.
Armenio Carlos, Head of the CGTP union said, "75% of these advertised jobs are not permanent and are on behalf of temporary employment agencies. People are not going to abandon unemployment benefit for a badly paid and insecure job."
The union points to the dilemma that many of the jobs on offer are worse paid than the job seekers' previous employment. If they accept such jobs and lose them a few months later, they will get less unemployment benefit after that because the 65% subsidy will be calculated on a lower salary.
The government's Stability and Growth Plan (PEC) threatens to force job seekers, who have been unemployed for more than six months, to accept a gross pay equal to the unemployment benefit or 10% higher.