Mon. Mar 30th, 2020

The Government studies to lower the salary of public employees by 2%



After the state of alarm, it will assess the size of the crisis to approve this measure. It intends to release more than 3,000 million canceling the January wage increase for 2.5 million people

The Government has on its table a battery of economic measures designed to reduce as much as possible the chances of entering a full economic recession due to the decisions taken to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. An eventual decrease of 2% in the salaries of officials figures prominently in this anti-recession package. This drop in payrolls would release more than 3,000 million euros. In addition to this general salary cut of 2%, the Government does not rule out that the high positions of public administrations, including ministers, tighten their belts and lead by example, with decreases in their wages of up to 15%, depending on their remuneration. The health emergency entails an economic crisis of such magnitude, still difficult to predict, that may place Spain on the threshold of a new economic recession. The Executive is aware that it will have to demand more sacrifices and efforts from the entire population to leave when before the crisis. For this, the free way given by Brussels to incur a greater fiscal deficit and the willingness of the European Central Bank to buy Spanish debt will not be enough. Hence, the Government studies the reduction of salaries of public employees, in order to minimize the chances of entering a lasting recession.

This measure, if approved, will mean, in practice, the cancellation of the 2% increase agreed by the Council of Ministers on January 21, which entered into force retroactively from 1 of the same month, and which affected all workers in state, regional and local administrations and those in the business public sector, that is, more than 2.5 million public employees. This increase represented an additional expense of 3,212 million euros, a figure that the Executive is now planning to save with this measure. The debates on this and other harsh measures within the Sánchez Cabinet are not without controversy. However, government sources assure this newspaper that its adoption seems inevitable and are considering a possible date for its announcement after the state of alarm ends and once the depth of the economic crisis is more accurately evaluated. Then, it will be when the Government asks again for sacrifices from public employees, from whom it does not expect an excessive mobilization, in a scenario in which it is estimated that the crisis will take a million jobs as a tsunami, while another million will be affected by the Ertes. Just in case, he will seek the consent of the unions before making a move and approving this salary reduction.

The extra pay

In recent years, officials have endured several freezes and two drops in wages. The last one was approved in 2013, the date on which the Rajoy government eliminated the Christmas bonus. This measure saved almost 1,000 million. The Zapatero government was the first to introduce the scissors to Chapter I of Budgets, referring to personnel spending. Salaries fell progressively between 0.56% and 7%, depending on payroll. Government members cut theirs 15% and CEOs 10%. Although now it does not appear in the list of measures being studied, sources from the Executive They do not rule out later on having to consider the abolition of an extra payment to officials, which would be returned when the economy allows it. Nor is it ruled out to leave the public job offer already called “in the air” and suspended by sanitary measures. The only calls that would be left out of this eventual decision would be those of essential services (health, state security forces …).

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