The Government will approve the 2% salary increase for public employees tomorrow in the Council of Ministers. This has been confirmed by ABC from sources familiar with the decision. How advanced this newspaper, the Executive had been preparing a decree-law for months that includes an increase of 2% for this year as included in the multiannual agreement signed by unions and administrations under the baton of the Executive of Mariano Rajoy in 2018. The rule will invoke reasons of "urgent need" to approve the hike. Already in 2018 the Government of Sánchez did something similar in the last Council of Ministers of the year, when it approved the increase of 2.25% fixed that occurred last year.
The increase will be retroactive, effective from January 1, and will cost 3,264 million euros to public coffers. It will not arrive on the January payroll, since there is no material time to include it, but formulas will be sought to be paid as soon as possible. It will benefit the three million public employees in Spain: as a cascading effect, what is approved by the State has repercussions on the salaries of the officials of autonomous communities, local administrations and public companies.
To this will be added the 0.3 points of rise in the wage bill that are still pending approval of its distribution to prioritize concepts such as salary equalization or productivity.
Tug of war
The Government has played in the last council of ministers with a salary increase that included October 15 in the Budget Plan sent to Brussels. In fact, it was his own Ivan Round, chief of staff of the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, who was responsible for reassuring by letter to the unions last Friday, when they did not approve the rise in public salaries. He then assured that the Executive would fulfill "as soon as possible and with retroactive effects" with the commitment to public employees to raise their salary by 2% this year.
However, they have had to pass several councils of ministers to move it forward, which has generated tensions with the unions. On a day in which Pedro Sánchez gives his first interview to TVE tonight, from the Ministry of Public Function, commanded by the newly appointed Carolina Darias, they assured CC.OO. that the increase in remuneration of public employees is a priority measure for the new Government.
4,600 million spending approved in three weeks
This was not the case with the increase in pensions of 0.9% for this year, which the Executive approved in its first Council of Ministers and which raises the deficit by another 1.4 billion euros. The other major measure that the Government has pending is the rise in the Minimum Wage, for which it intends to negotiate with social agents.
In this way, the Government already has 4,600 million euros of increase in public spending in payrolls of retirees and public employees, a major corset facing Brussels to negotiate a flexibility of the deficit and not breach the limits of rising disbursement. All this, after agreeing on the PSOE an ambitious agenda to increase spending with Podemos that can hardly cover the tax increase planned by the Executive. Just the Vice President of the Government and Minister of Economy, Nadia Calviño, today began in Brussels before the Eurogroup the first contacts to achieve softer fiscal objectives. The bulk of spending for 2020 is already approved.