Free way for the salary increase to the civil servants. The central government, the regional and local administrations, and the unions have closed this Monday the new remuneration system that will govern the last months of this year, the next financial year and 2024. The General Negotiation Table of the Public Administrations has ratified the proposal of the Ministry of Finance and Public Administration. CCOO and UGT, which have a majority among the group, have endorsed the increase, while CSIF has branded it “insufficient”.
The central Executive advances in this way in another of the procedures that it must solve for the formalization of the General Budgets. In the absence of a definitive agreement —with an eye on defense spending—, the government is expected to present the next public accounts this week. In them, there will be a wage increase that next year will be 2.5%, to which another 1% may be added depending on the evolution of the CPI and the country’s GDP. Although, the plan also agrees on a revaluation of the agreed increase for this year and that of 2024.
On this occasion, the government has sought greater rapprochement with the unions at a time when it has repeatedly urged employers to negotiate better wages with workers that reduce the loss of purchasing power caused by inflation. In the past, the unions have shown bitter disagreements with the government of the day when they were presented with a figure for the salary increase with no room for negotiation, since the agreement is not essential. There are nearly three million workers who will benefit from this wage increase.
The remaining situation is the following. The 2% that was already applied for 2022 salaries will have an addition of 1.5% that will be applied retroactively from January 1. For 2023, a fixed rate of 2.5% is proposed and two variable concepts are added. One, of 0.5%, linked to the accumulated IPC of this course and the one that comes if they exceed 6%. Another, of the same amount, linked to the GDP exceeding 5.9%. Regarding 2024, the fixed rate is 2% and 0.5% would be added if the accumulated rate for this year and the next two ends with an inflation rate of 8%.
Differences between unions
UGT was the first of the unions to announce its position. It was last Friday, when the direction of the public area of the organization supported the agreement. Julio La cuerda, general secretary of UGT Public Services, expressed his conviction that an agreement of this nature “is good news for all citizens, not only for those who work in Public Administrations. The impact of the consumption of three million public employees in our country is a contribution to the smooth running of the economy”.
CCOO has announced at the start of this week its endorsement of the proposal. It is subject to the fulfillment of a series of milestones in the process of improving conditions, not only wages, in the group of public workers. However, he considers that, although “insufficient”, it is “the first time that the increase contemplated in the PGE has been revised upwards”. “CCOO, values this pre-agreement that should be closed in a few weeks, scheduled for its development, and will continue working for the recovery of the rest of the matters that have not yet been achieved,” the statement adds.
For its part, Csif is the only one of the three large unions that has maintained its rejection of this wage change. “At this time the offer seems insufficient to us. The economic proposal does not even correct inflation”, defended Francisco Lama, Csif union action secretary. “Let’s hope he comes up with a new proposal or our organization will reject the deal,” he said. The general secretary, Miguel Borra, has assured that the opportunity to “mark the way for private enterprise” has been lost. “It implies that this year public employees are going to add more than 5% loss of purchasing power,” he assured.
The General Negotiation Table of Public Administrations, which has confirmed the wage increase, has a majority representation of CCOO and UGT. The first has 36% and the second almost 35%. Csif has 22%. CIG and ELA also have representation, which did not participate in the salary negotiation, and which have joined Csif in rejecting the Treasury proposal.
the other measures
The agreement that today advances in the negotiation table goes beyond the wage increase. The unions have been claiming for a long time a series of demands that now see the light in part, although waiting to be formalized in a negotiation during “the next few weeks”. One of the key pieces of these reforms is the elimination of the limitations that exist to prevent the implementation of 35-hour days in public administrations. “We will look for a tool that allows us to achieve 35 hours in those administrations that continue with 37.5 hours,” says CCOO in a statement.
Another of the measures supposes including in group B all the categories that require the qualification of a higher level technician, which in practice translates into a salary increase for this group. Once the negotiation is formalized, some aspects that were included in the cuts suffered by civil servants a decade ago, such as partial retirement or limits on union action, will be repealed.
The negotiation framework also includes an aspect widely claimed by public workers, such as the well-known replacement rate. This percentage limits the number of public places that are covered and the possibility of creating new ones. Now, the unions defend that they will seek to “limit the damage it is causing in services considered non-essential.” Other advances such as equality, digitization or teleworking will also be included in this agreement. The selection and internal promotion is another of the claims of the civil servants that it is hoped to agree on.