Catalan government employees abroad demand equal working conditions

Unions say workers overseas are subject to local conditions and are sometimes denied 'basic rights'

Delegation of the Catalan government in Brussels
Delegation of the Catalan government in Brussels / Blanca Blay
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

April 12, 2024 06:40 PM

April 12, 2024 07:04 PM

Workers in the Catalan government's foreign delegations are demanding equal working conditions with their colleagues in Catalonia. 

Although they work for the government, staff outside Catalonia's borders are contracted by the delegations of each country and are subject to the working conditions of that destination. 

Marcel Bigas, of the Intersindical union, said this situation leads to "significant disparities" in working conditions between offices. 

"We demand rights as basic as maternity leave. In countries that are not subject to European law, there is no guarantee that these rights, which are essential at home, are respected," Bigas explained. 


Unions highlighted situations where workers lack access to "basic rights that would not be questioned in Catalonia," such as maternity leave, 15 days' holiday or time off to reconcile work and family life. 

Workers are also demanding wage increases in line with inflation because they say they have lost purchasing power in recent years. 

The Catalan government has 21 delegations abroad with a total of 100 employees. In the last two years, 20 people have left their posts due to unfavorable working conditions, and another 50 may be affected, most of them working outside the EU, according to Bigas. 

Despite two years of negotiations between the government and unions aimed at gradually restoring the working conditions that were in place before Spain suspended Catalonia's autonomy and imposed direct rule after the 2017 referendum, Bigas lamented the lack of significant improvements.

The foreign ministry expressed its commitment to "harmonize" agreements between different countries and the rights of Catalan government employees but acknowledged the complexity of the situation.