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Strike disrupts Portuguese public services as trade unions continue fight against austerity

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LISBON, Portugal - A strike by government workers is disrupting public services in Portugal as labour groups continue their battle against pay and pension cuts and the loss of entitlements.

Many workers, especially those on the public payroll, have endured two years of falling income and higher taxes since Portugal's 78 billion euros ($105 billion) bailout in 2011.

More austerity is planned next year as Portugal's creditors and other countries using the euro currency compel Lisbon to get its finances into shape.

The 24-hour strike Friday forced the cancellation of school classes and medical appointments. Local media reported that some courts and government offices around the country were closed or had few staff.

Municipal garbage collection was also affected, though trade unions acknowledged that some workers couldn't afford to lose a day's pay.

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