MARIA JESUS CAñIZARES 14.02.2020 00:00 h.
“Not another Euro anymore.” The Ministry of Justice of the Generalitat is reluctant to increase the salary supplements of judicial officials stationed in Catalonia, the worst paid in Spain. Until now, the excuse was the budget extension, but after the approval of the 2020 accounts, it now says it is the fault of poor state funding.
This precariousness, coupled with pro-independentist pressure in an administration preached by the Govern’s own discredit campaigns, has led to a record number of public workers calling for the transfer: a total of 129 last year compared to 52 in 2018. Vacancies increase, which also happens in the collective of judges and prosecutors.
They don’t rule out mobilizations
Trade unions, which do not rule out mobilizations to demand improvements, have repeatedly reported the situation to the Ministry of Justice. They did so again at the negotiating table held on Wednesday. “Not another Euro anymore” replied the Secretary of Relations with the Administration of Justice, Joan Domènec Abad. Until now, the excuse was that the Budgets of the Generalitat were extended and that, therefore, the 2020 accounts had to be awaited.
They passed their first parliamentary procedure on the same day that such a meeting between the Generalitat and trade unions —STAJ, CSIF, CCOO and UGT–, but the head of the Council reported that the increase earmarked for the department would go to free justice, translation and interpreters and equipment expenses.
So, beyond the 2% increase promised to all Generalitat officials, there will be no increase in the specific complement for managers, processors and assistants. The Economy Ministry, according to union sources, had given the go-ahead to that upward revision, not so the Department of Justice. The new justification for this council, the holder of which is Ester Capella (ERC), is the poor funding of the State, namely that derived from the 1996 Justice Transfer Decree.
These sources recall that it was the Generalitat that voluntarily claimed the transfers of personnel, without having since been reviewed, “even though Catalonia has been key in the governance of Spain with both Aznar and Zapatero”. The Trade Unions do not rule out mobilizations to claim these promised improvements.
In this situation are the workers of the administration of Justice. No wonder, then, that this new setback, which joins the pressure of the procés and the Catalan Government’s attempts to place political commissioners in the courts –Evaluation and improvement teams, created with the purpose of “monitoring” the functioning of the courts–, in the last transfer contest, a total of 129 officials have taken the opportunity to ask for a destination outside Catalonia, most of them living in this community for many years.
“Each new contest produces a new record for transfers outside Catalonia, after a decade of cuts (extra pays),” explain sources from the Workers’ Union of the Administration of Justice (STAJ). Thus, last year, the number of workers who requested relocation was 52, a figure that by 2020 is almost tripled.
Just yesterday, the Member of Citizens María Valle defended a motion in the plenary session of the Catalan Parliament in defense of judicial workers. The points on which the Government was urged to end interference in that administration and apologise for the discredit campaigns were rejected with the votes of JxCat, ERC, PSC, CUP and CatECP. Yes, the paragraph urging the revision of the specific supplement received by judicial employees, which has not been revised since 2006, was adopted and equated with the average of the rest of Spain, with effect from 1 January 2020. JxCat and ERC abstained and a Republican MP voted against it. Finally, the reintegration of 60% of the outstanding 2013 bonus pay was supported for all Generalitat officials.
This escape of officials joins the increase in the increasing number of judges and prosecutors leaving Catalonia, something that complicates the management of the General Council of the Judiciary and the High Court of Justice of Catalonia when it comes to providing the vacancies left by the holders. There are currently 876 incumbent judges and magistrates against 134 substitutes,384 incumbent prosecutors and nearly 100 substitutes, as well as 598 incumbent and 362 substitute lawyers.