Monday, February 26

The Bank of Spain, the National Police and other public entities fail to comply with the obligation to have an equality plan

Do not apply at home what is required from doors to the outside. This is what many Public Administrations do, which do not comply with the obligation to have equality plans for their own employees, while this requirement has been spreading in the private sector and is required for contracts with the public sector. They breach from the National Police, organizations such as the Bank of Spain, public companies such as Canal de Isabel II, the Administration of Justice, more than half of the Autonomous Communities and the vast majority of City Councils. “This shows the lack of interest of these Administrations, in which there is always something more urgent than equality,” laments Carmen López, head of Equality at the FSC-CCOO.

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This March 7 equality plans were once again protagonists. The three-year period that the Government gave in 2019 for companies with 50 or more workers to draw up their equality plans and join companies with more than 250 employees that were already obliged to do so was over. Failure to comply with this mandate is a serious breach of labor relations, which can lead to fines of 7,500 euros.

Equality plans are a tool negotiated between companies and staff to achieve “equal treatment and opportunities between women and men” in the workplace and to “eliminate discrimination based on sex”, as explained by the Equality Law . They must include a diagnosis, which objectively analyzes the situation of the company in this area (salaries, access of women and men, professional promotion, glass ceiling, etc.). Based on this starting image, measures must be designed to eliminate the inequalities detected or the challenges encountered to achieve equality.

But not only companies are required to have equality plans. Also the Public Administrations, from long before: the Equality Law of 2007. Since then it is a mandate for them, recalls Carmen López, fifteen years have passed and there are still many who do not comply with it.

More than 68,000 police officers without coverage of a plan

At the state level, for example, the National Police, with more than 68,000 agents and dependent on the Ministry of the Interior, does not have an equality plan. Nor protocol against sexual harassment, another requirement for public administrations. Police sources confirm to the lack of an equality plan, although they point out that it is “in an advanced stage of preparation.”

Police sources also recall that the agency has had a National Office for Gender Equality since 2018. With more than a year of operation, the office promoted a brochure as its main achievement. At this time, the Police highlight that the female presence in the body has increased, “from 14.3% in 2018 to 16.25% now”, and the minimum height as an access criterion has also been eliminated. for men and women, which above all conditioned the incorporation of women.

Nor does the Administration of Justice have an equality plan, which affects some 50,000 employees. Judges do have the measure, through the Plan of the General Council of the Judiciary, but not these other workers dependent on the Ministry of Justice. “The Ministry does not have a plan and of the Communities that have assumed the transfer, only the Valencian Community has it”, which has a workforce of about 5,000 people, says Jacinta Navas, responsible for Women in the CCOO in the Administration of Justice. “Right now the Basque Country and Andalusia are in negotiations and Madrid wants to include it in a Plan for all regional staff,” adds Navas.

The Bank of Spain, four years to close a plan

Another reference public body on the list of defaulters at the state level is the Bank of Spain. The national central bank and supervisor of the Spanish banking system together with the European Central Bank (ECB), with some 3,000 employees, does not have an equality plan. “We are in the final phase of developing the equality plan, together with the union representatives. We hope to give it a definitive boost in the coming weeks”, they respond to this medium in the public body. Already in 2018, when the Court of Auditors pulled the regulator’s ears for this reason, the Bank of Spain responded to this medium that it was negotiating the measure. Four years have passed.

From UGT they explain that in 2018 there was an equality plan practically finished, but at the last moment there was no agreement. Finally, now they are in the final works to sign what will be the first equality plan, they are waiting in the union. Sources from the Bank of Spain highlight that “51% of the workers” of the organization are women and that “60%” of the Governing Council is made up of women: “We have more female directors than male directors”.

“On many occasions we make the mistake that when we talk about equality plans and remuneration records for union action in companies, it seems that this does not apply to public services. And yes, it goes”, Cristina Antoñanzas, head of Equality at UGT, highlighted last week in an act with the federation of public services. Equality plans can bring out hidden inequalities in the workplace, such as difficulties in promoting women, lack of training or a salary gap, so denying their existence harms women in these organizations.

“There is a lack of interest, there is always a reason not to address equality, but it is also a question of resources, because money has to be allocated to eliminate many inequalities”, considers Carmen López.

Most of the Autonomous Communities do not comply

At levels below the State, defaults are even more widespread. The General State Administration (AGE) and its association bodies sealed the third equality plan in 2020, during the pandemic. Even with a delay, the State caught up with this obligation. However, of the 17 Autonomous Communities, “only eight have equality plans for their staff: Aragón, Catalunya, Comunidad Valenciana, Murcia, Baleares, Euskadi, Castilla y León and Castilla-La Mancha”, recalls López. The ‘strategic plans’ who try to sell many territories as such “are not,” warns the trade unionist, since they do not meet the required labor requirements.

“Other six Communities are negotiating the plans, they are in process”, continues the CCOO union official. Carmen López insists that, although the plans have received a boost with the 2019 legislation to expand them, the Communities had the obligation to implement this tool in favor of the equality of their public employees since 2007. She reiterates: fifteen years ago.

In the Madrid public company Canal de Isabel II, with more than 3,000 workers, they are not up to date with this obligation either. They had an equality plan with their first collective agreement, but this expired and for the moment the public company has not drawn up a new one in compliance with the updated regulation. From CCOO in Canal de Isabel II they denounce “bad faith” of the company in the negotiation with the representatives of the staff. For example, with “the presentation of a non-negotiated equality plan behind the back of the equality commission” when the talks are still open. In the organization they do not respond to the latter and limit themselves to pointing out that “it is now being negotiated” with the workers.

Since the 2019 regulation, with two regulations that have specified how the plans should be and added new obligations such as salary audits, the unions are trying to make “the Administration set an example”, argued Cristina Antoñanzas, “although many times they do not do it” . Despite the fact that the regulations on records and pay audits are not yet mandatory for the administrations, Antoñanzas considered it unheard of for public institutions to deny data broken down by sex of what the staff earns, as indicated by the UGT representation. “That can’t be,” she criticized.

In the last step of the Public Administration, the town halls, the lack of equality plans is widespread. “The City Councils, around 8,000, it is very difficult to know the data. In the study that we requested from the Civil Service in 2018, which even included ‘strategic plans’, 2% of city councils with equality plans were not reached. The figure will not have risen much, “says Carmen López. Those responsible for equality of the unions urge that public institutions “set an example” and guarantee the labor rights of their staff. Antoñanzas recalled that it is often believed that public personnel are “privileged, but it is not true” with many workers in very precarious situations, as the pandemic has shown with home care and nursing home employees, for example.