File image. / r.c.

Spanish government offers three million civil servants an additional 1.5% pay increase this year

Unlike pensioners in Spain, civil servants will have their salaries broadly increased in line with inflation over the next two years

LUCÍA PALACIOS Madrid

Civil servants in Spain will have their salaries broadly increased in line with inflation. The government is prepared to raise the salaries of the more than three million civil servants both this year with retroactive effect from January - with an additional payment to be paid at the end of 2022 - and the following two years. The sum of these three increases, which would amount to 8 per cent, remains below the rate of inflation, which is already climbing to 10.5 per cent.

The Ministry of Finance and the Civil Service submitted its formal proposal for a wage increase to the trade unions at a meeting held on Wednesday 28 September which initiates negotiations that had been at a standstill and which it intends to culminate in a multi-year agreement until 2024.

The department headed by María Jesús Montero has offered to review the increase approved this year for public employees and raise it from the current 2 per cent to 3.5 per cent, as demanded by the unions, but lowers this increase to 2.5 per cent in 2023 and 2 per cent in 2024.

The unions rejected the proposal and described it as "insufficient". The UGT, CC OO and CSIF stressed that the offer is below the rate of inflation and urged the Treasury to increase its wage proposal.

"We would be more satisfied if at least 2023 had the same treatment as 2022 (i.e. a rise of 3.5 per cent)," said Julio Lacuerda, secretary general of UGT Public Services. In the same vein, Humberto Muñoz, coordinator of the CC OO Public Area, advocated raising the multi-year increase to 10 per cent or 9.5 per cent.

The meeting took place as the government is considering accepting a long-standing demand of the trade unions: that of reducing the working week of civil servants in the General State Administration to 35 hours, as opposed to the current 37.5 hours, which could serve as an example and also be extended to regional and local administrations.

It also expressed a willingness to carry out improvements in internal promotion, both in terms of mobility and access, and also changes in external labour staff. And the Ministry of Finance and the Civil Service pledged to continue making progress in the development of the civil service law, in attracting talent and teleworking to areas at risk of depopulation.