Wednesday, July 6

The reform against the abuse of interns faces the final stretch still with differences with the unions

One week to approve the legal reform against the abuse of temporary employment in Public Administrations. The Ministry of Public Function, led by Miquel Iceta, faces the final stretch of negotiation with the unions and the Autonomous Communities to try to agree on the legislative changes that, in any case, will lead to the Council of Ministers this June. This is what the Government in Brussels has committed to within the Recovery and Resilience Plan. After a new meeting this Monday, the unions value the advances of the latest proposal of the Ministry, but insist that they are still “insufficient”.

Abusive temporality is paid: Iceta proposes to “demand responsibilities” to positions of the Administration

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The negotiation focuses on two main aspects. On the one hand, the legal reform to avoid excessive and fraudulent temporary employment of public employees in the future. And, on the other, measures that also provide a solution to the current abuse of temporary workers.

The public sector has a temporary employment rate that exceeds 28%, higher than in the private sector (25%), and there are many cases of people who have held temporary positions for years. The Government figures about 300,000 public places occupied by temporary jobs that are actually structural.

The reform that is now being negotiated responds to a problem that has been entrenched in Spain for years and to which no solution has been found. The European justice resolved just this month again that, at present, Spain lacks prevention and sanction measures for abuses in temporary employment in the public sector, something that community regulations require. The Plenary of the Supreme Court will analyze the European ruling on Tuesday, very critical of the doctrine of the judicial body on this issue.

In the face of abuses and the absence of solutions, interim movements have been created that demand the fixity after years of their positions. That is to say, that the Administration makes them fixed without the place going out to public tender. Although some judgments recognize this option, most courts have invalidated the fixity, following the criteria of the Supreme Court, considering that it does not respect the constitutional principles of access to public employment.

There are still some differences in draft

The Ministry of Public Function presented to the unions last May its proposal for the reform, which indicated for the first time those responsible in the Administration for the abuse of temporality for which “the requirement of responsibilities” was contemplated. It also proposed the automatic termination of interns at a maximum of three years, among other measures.

The unions returned several proposals to the Ministry in this regard. Among them was the granting of some measure of compensation or redress for people who have suffered abuse of their status as temporary workers. Also address the stabilization processes to reduce the current high temporary status that Minister Iceta had announced, and that these try to facilitate access to permanent positions for temporary workers who currently occupy temporary positions. Of course, always within the legal limits of “equality, merit and ability” required by the Constitution to access public employment.

A few days ago the Civil Service presented a new proposal to the unions, which includes some proposals. Among the novelties, a compensation of 33 days per year worked is proposed for interns who are in their positions more than the established maximums. The “economic compensation” is only raised for the appointments of workers after the entry into force of the reform.

Union sources value very positively that the Ministry has been open to granting compensation to punish abuse in temporary employment, an option that the Government rejected at the beginning, but they consider that it cannot be limited only to future appointments. CCOO and CSIF have released this Monday statements in this regard, which demand that compensation be recognized to all interns in law fraud in their positions. The UGT has sent a note that focuses on the progress made, although it acknowledges that there is still “room” to continue improving the final text.

From the representation of workers they consider that the abuse in the current temporality, which affects thousands of people, should entail some type of sanction. As noted, Europe has resolved that it does not exist today. If it is decided that the sanction is not compensation for workers affected today, due to the high cost to the public coffers after years of abuse, union sources consider that some other solution should be agreed. This is the thorniest point to be able to reach a social agreement, they indicate in the unions.

The latest Public Function proposal also addresses the stabilization processes for positions occupied so far by interns. The Government proposes access to fixed places through competition-opposition, in which the competition phase is worth the maximum contemplated: 40%. In the unions, again, they recognize the progress, but they ask for more clarity with these processes and that, within the legal margins, they reward experience to facilitate access to fixed positions for temporary employees.

Among the proposals for the stabilization of interim personnel, they suggest avoiding eliminatory exams as well as favoring practical-theoretical exams, among others. The key would be to make it easier for the people who currently occupy these positions to get the fixed place, but without denying the possibility of attending and accessing the public square to any citizen who is interested in participating in order to preserve the constitutional principles . UGT is committed to “a social clause” to “relocate” the interim who fail to stabilize their position.

Changes must be approved this June

The Iceta reform must be approved this June, they confirm to this medium in Public Function. In the annexes of the Spanish Recovery and Resilience Plan, which Brussels validated last week, it appears as one of the milestones to achieve the financing of non-reimbursable European aid. “Entry into force of the legislative act to reduce temporary employment in Public Administrations”, collects the document, with the time limit for the second quarter of 2021.

The last Council of Ministers in June will take place next week, on Tuesday 29, so the Executive would have to give the green light to legislative changes at the latest on this date. The formula to approve the reform is expected to be the royal decree-law.

This Tuesday, June 22, the Ministry will address the reform with the Autonomous Communities, another of the key agents affected by the legislation. Another meeting with the unions is scheduled for Thursday to continue negotiating. If the Ministry agrees to include more changes in its proposal, or the unions give in their demands to reach a consensus, or the measure is approved without an agreement, it will be verified in the next seven days.