public employees

Catalonia's labour costs drop by 0.4% in 2013 while they increase by 2.1% in Spain

March 19, 2014 08:42 PM | ACN

Catalonia is the only Autonomous Community in Spain to have registered a decrease in wages, as it was also the only one to have public employees' Christmas payment – equivalent to a month’s salary – entirely eliminated in 2013, according to the latest Quarterly Labour Cost Survey issued by the Spanish Government. Hence, while Spanish wages have increased by 2.1% in 2013, the wages of Catalan employees have continued on a downward trend continued o, falling by 0.7% at the end of December 2013 compared to the last quarter of 2012. The average salary in Catalonia stood at €2,133 per month, returning to 2009 levels, when it had amounted to €2,119. Labour costs, which group the employee salary and social costs assumed by companies, have also fallen by 0.4% in annual terms in Catalonia whereas they were up by 2.1% in Spain.

Catalan Government plans to reduce its office space by 45%

December 19, 2013 08:22 PM | ACN

The Catalan Finance Minister presented on Thursday a ‘Space Rationalisation and Optimisation Plan’ that foresees to partially leave Barcelona’s city centre and set up offices in cheaper areas. Nonetheless, the measure does not include citizen information and care centres such as schools and community health centres. Furthermore, the initiative also plans to reduce the global office space by using previously-empty floors and concentrating services without laying off staff. The objective is to pass from holding 377,000 square metres to fully occupying 207,000 square metres, a 45% reduction. By doing so, the Catalan Government expects to reduce rents by a 20% average, to cut off indirect costs by 50% and to decrease energy spending by 30%. Furthermore, it will sell the most appealing buildings.

Demonstration in Barcelona against austerity and “antisocial” policies

November 25, 2013 05:37 PM | ACN

Thousands of people – 12,000 according to Barcelona’s local police and 200,000 according to the organisers – demonstrated on Sunday in the streets of Barcelona to protest against the Spanish and Catalan Governments’ austerity measures and “antisocial” budgets. Led by the platform ‘Prou Retallades’ (“Stop Budget Cuts”) , the UGT and CCOO trade-unions, as well as political parties and associations, citizens voiced their disapproval of the new pension reform, working fragility and the latest austerity measures. They also specifically protested against the Catalan and Spanish Governments’ budgets for 2014, which they consider “antisocial”. The demonstration organisers criticised the “blind obedience” of the Catalan and Spanish Executives to the European Commission and the Troika.

The Constitutional Court upholds ruling that Balearic Islands’ civil servants are no longer required to know Catalan

October 2, 2013 10:38 PM | ACN

On the same day, the Court re-affirmed its decision to keep its current Chairman in position despite his anti-Catalan public stance and having been a member of the governing People’s Party (PP) until 2011. On top of this, Catalan and Basque Members of the European Parliament from five different parties formally asked the European Commission to intervene against the politicisation of the Spanish Constitutional Court, stressing that EU democracies should have an independent judiciary. The Constitutional Court is the highest interpreter of Spain’s legislation, has to guarantee the respect of fundamental rights and acts as a referee between the different government levels and political actors. In this capacity, it ruled against the appeal presented by the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) against the law that abolished the requirement to know Catalan for working as a public servant in Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera, despite it being the local language.

The Catalan President asks for a broad agreement to define the legal framework for a self-determination vote in 2014

September 25, 2013 10:47 PM | ACN

On the occasion of the Catalan Parliament’s main annual debate, called the Debate on General Policy, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, asked the political parties to work on a broad “triple agreement” on the exact date, question and legal framework for holding a self-determination vote. Furthermore, Mas stated that he wanted this agreement to be reached before the end of the year, in order to have the road paved for holding the vote in 2014. However, he did not say whether the question will be exclusively about Catalonia’s independence from Spain or whether a third way will also be included as an option. Besides, Mas re-affirmed his will to negotiate with the Spanish Government on the legal formula for organising a referendum. However, he also stressed that if Madrid completely rejects talks on holding a self-determination vote, there is nothing to negotiate on.

1,060 companies moved from Catalonia to Madrid for tax reasons since 2010, according to Madrid’s Government

August 19, 2013 10:13 PM | ACN

In the last three years, 1,060 companies have moved their headquarters from Catalonia to the region of Madrid, according to a report published by Madrid’s regional Government. The report states that most of them took the decision because of the lower taxes that exist in Spain’s capital, compared to other areas such as Catalonia. Since 2010, 5,000 companies based in the rest of Spain decided to move to Madrid; 21.4% of them were from Catalonia. Paradoxically, 43 cents out of every euro paid in taxes in Catalonia is to pay for investments and services made in other parts of Spain, which turns into an annual fiscal deficit of 8.5% of Catalonia’s GDP, meaning that Catalans are obliged by the Spanish Government to give away €16.5 billion. Meanwhile, the Catalan Government is under-budgeted and obliged to implement severe budget cuts and raise taxes to balance the budget.

Catalonia has 41 civil servants per 1,000 inhabitants while the Spanish average is 57

August 13, 2013 09:19 PM | ACN

The number of public employees in Catalonia has been reduced by 4.76% over the last year, while in the whole of Spain the reduction was of 3.97%, due to the budget cuts in the public sector. However, the number of civil servants in Catalonia was already significantly lower than the Spanish average, according to a study issued by the SME association PIMEC. In January 2013, there were 40.7 civil servants for every 1,000 inhabitants in Catalonia, while the Spanish average was 57.4 and it reached 79.6 in the Autonomous Community of Extremadura. In fact, 26.7% of the Extremadura’s workforce is employed in the public sector, while the percentage drops to 11.1% in Catalonia. PIMEC stated in its report that, if Catalonia had the same proportion of public employees as the Spanish average, its unemployment rate would drop from 24.5% to 20.5%, with 150,000 fewer jobseekers.

The Catalan Government plans to save €700 million by reducing civil servants’ salaries and not replacing vacancies

February 13, 2013 10:44 PM | CNA

The Catalan Executive has provided details of how it will adjust €4 billion of its 2013 budget in order to meet the deficit target imposed by the Spanish Government. Besides the 1 billion tax increase already announced, the Catalan Executive will have to implement further budget cuts. On Thursday it will present its austerity plan for 2013 to the unions, which will affect all public employees, in order to save €700 million. As last year, public employees will not receive 7% of their annual salary, corresponding to part of the summer and Christmas bonuses. According to the unions, 3,000 civil servant posts will remain empty and 10,000 substitution contracts will not be signed.

The Catalan Government plans to modify the working conditions of 45,000 public employees

March 16, 2012 09:33 PM | CNA

The Catalan Government has drafted a plan regarding public employees for the 2012-2014 period. The aim is to reduce public spending in order to meet the deficit targets by reorganising civil servants, including their working conditions. The plan foresees the possibility of a reduction in salaries and working hours, as well as making their working conditions, tasks, and location more flexible. 6,800 temporary workers will have their hours reduced by 15% from April 1st. Unions have criticised the plan. However, the Catalan Vice President has asked unions to avoid exaggerating the issue and creating problems.

Catalan President announces a 5% cut in public salaries to meet 2012 deficit targets

March 12, 2012 11:46 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The Catalan Government had already approved a 3% reduction of public salaries during the current year, which will now be increased to 5%. However, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, explained that the measure would be cancelled if the Spanish Government approved a similar reduction, in order not to harm public employees with two salary reductions. The People’s Party supports Mas but the Left-Wing opposition parties have criticised the measure and have said that there are other ways to reduce the deficit. Mas demanded that the Spanish Government include the funds it legally owes Catalonia in its budget for 2012 which would avoid further cutbacks.

The Catalan Government reduces public sector salaries by 3% to meet deficit objectives

February 17, 2012 10:06 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The salary drop is to be added to the 5% cutback in 2010 and the 2011 salary freeze despite the increase in inflation. Trade unions denounced that since May 2010, Catalan public employees have lost 20% of their purchasing power. In addition, trade unions have abandoned negotiations as they say the Catalan Government is imposing the measures. The Vice President, Joana Ortega, stressed that the measure is “temporary”, in principle only for 2012; however she did not discard the idea of repeating it in 2013 if the economic situation requires so. The measure will save €180 million this year, which is part of the €625 million package to be saved that affects public employee labour conditions.

Catalan prisons besieged by public employees protesting over working conditions

January 13, 2012 11:26 PM | CNA

Prison employee unions and the Catalan Government, which manages all prisons in Catalonia, have carried an arm wrestling over the past few weeks. Trade unions have been impeding access to some Catalan prisons on three occasions: in early December and this week. The Government claims these actions are illegal, represent a risk and refuses to negotiate under this threat. Unions are mainly protesting over salary cuts and a lack of human resources.

Public employee unions protest at not being informed by the Catalan Government about delays in the extra salary payment

December 15, 2011 10:27 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The Catalan Minister for Finance, Andreu Mas-Colell stated in a press conference that because of the Spanish Government’s refusal to pay them the promised €759 million, the Catalan Government will be short of cash for the remainder of the year. Mas-Colell explained that Catalan public employees would receive most of their Christmas bonus with a one week delay. In addition, service providers will also be paid later. Visibly angry and arguing that they had not been previously informed about the measures, union representatives decided to leave the negotiation table with the Catalan Government where talks had been taking place about next year’s salaries, working conditions and staff numbers.

Public employees and the Catalan Government clear on their aims for next year’s salaries and staff numbers

December 14, 2011 10:44 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Public employees have taken to the streets to put pressure on the Catalan Government during the negotiation of next year’s budget. The Government proposed 19 measures affecting public employees and aimed at saving €625 million in 2012. They include salary reductions, modifications in working conditions and review “of temporary staff”. Negotiations began on November 30th and, despite some temporary suspensions, they are on-going. The Catalan Government wants to close a deal as soon as possible, and unions want to keep negotiating until next year’s budget approval.