The reinforcement of personnel for the SEPE (State Public Employment Service) has ended. The CSIF union has raised the alarm on Tuesday: the body that is in charge of processing the benefits to people in ERTE and in unemployment will dispense with the 1,500 temporary workers that were appointed to support the coronavirus pandemic, which greatly increased its workload . Sources from the Ministry of Labor confirm the future dismissal of 1,000 interns in June and September, although not yet of the other 500 remaining, for which everything indicates that they will also be dismissed if no one avoids it. In Labor they respond that they asked for the renewal of all workers and adjudicate the decision to “the competent ministries.” That is, to the Treasury and Public Function.
Social Security is weakened at a forced marches due to the lack of personnel: a third of its offices are at risk of closure
The dismissal of 500 temporary workers will take place this same month of June and another 500 temporary workers will leave their positions in September. “The request of the Ministry of Labor and Social Economy was the one of total renovation and thus we transferred it. The interns have done an extraordinary work during all this time in the SEPE”, they respond in the ministry that directs the vice-president Yolanda Díaz. “The decision corresponds to the competent ministries,” they add in Labor.
End of reinforcement when crisis management continues
The SEPE had to face the crisis due to the pandemic with a workforce decimated in recent years due to cuts and a lack of renewal of retired personnel. “In the last ten years, about 3,400 troops have been lost due to cutback policies,” they figure in CSIF.
The public body thus faced with this weakness of personnel an unprecedented hit in employment: almost a million workers lost their jobs in two weeks in March and a novel ERTE system was put into operation due to the pandemic, which reached having 3.4 million people under its mantle at the worst moment of the crisis.
The Ministry of Labor incorporated these 1,500 interim reinforcements for the SEPE. The unions insisted that it was still insufficient for the needs of the offices. CCOO claimed 2,500 employees, for example.
Initially, during the avalanche of layoffs and new ERTE, the service had numerous incidents. A few months later, citizen complaints continued, with thousands of people denouncing delays in the collection of ERTEs and, above all, the impossibility for someone to answer them on the other end of the phone. The Ministry of Labor always defended that the delays affected a small percentage of workers, for example 2% in June. But when the total is 3.3 million people, that small percentage still reached a lot of people. About 66,000 that June, according to official figures.
CSIF, which has spread the news of the cessation of the reinforcement interns, has expressed its rejection of this decision in a statement. “It involves dispensing with about 20% of the current workforce, which will seriously jeopardize the viability of the workload that will have to be distributed on the backs of the workers,” they highlight.
It must be remembered that the ERTE system is still in force due to the pandemic, on which some 400,000 people depend at the moment. In ERTE, the entry and exit of workers is common, as well as the increase or reduction of hours of activity of the employees affected by the files, possible thanks to the flexibility of the mechanism. In addition, the total number of unemployed people stood at 3.8 million in May, still above the 3.2 million in February 2020, before contagion broke out in Spain.
Unions denounce that they do not reach all the work
The UGT also regret the news. “We cannot pay the benefits, we are left without vacations and offices would have to be closed”, denounces Françoise Calvo, UGT representative in the SEPE. The public employment service worker denounces that, even with the interim reinforcement, the SEPE continues to have delays due to the workload it faces and the previous staff deficits. “With this more”, alert. “In Costs and Public Function they do not know the work that is done in the SEPE and they do not care about the unemployed or the unemployed”, criticizes the union member.
The unions denounce that the cessation of the first 500 troops occurs on the eve of the holidays of many workers of the public entity, “with which the management of benefits in a significant number of units may be compromised,” they warn in CSIF.
CSIF and UGT charge against the Ministry of Public Function, led by Miquel Iceta, but they also point to Labor, which is the ministry – now a Vice Presidency of the government – on which the SEPE depends. “If the minister does not avoid it, all the interns will cease,” they point out in the UGT.
In CSIF they demand the announcement of an “extraordinary and specific” public job offer to alleviate the structural deficit of the SEPE. “A sufficient endowment of human, structural and professional resources is urgently needed,” claims the union. The Ministry of Labor has announced a change in Active Employment Policies (PAE), to improve job placement from public employment offices through more personalized attention and more orientation to citizens. The unions often warn that these improvements must be reflected in a reinforcement of personnel to be really effective.