November 29, 2020

The governor and the boatman’s truths


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During his appearance in the Congress of Deputies to analyze the Budget project for next year, the Governor of the Bank of Spain, Pablo Hernandez de Cos, he dared to criticize one of the measures included in the public accounts that many of us share but few dare to say. “In my opinion, it would be more convenient if, instead of adopting generalized salary increases for public workers, the possibility of implementing, according to objective criteria, more focused increases within this group, for example, in health personnel », He assured his lordships. And although it was not so clear, the same could be said of the increases in the amount of benefits of more than nine million pensioners. Does it make sense for the income of public sector workers and pensioners to rise more than that of private sector employees at a time when public accounts are practically bankrupt? Honestly none. If to that we add that inflation is in negative territory, even by freezing pensions and public salaries, both groups would gain purchasing power. But there are many millions of votes and no politician, of any color, dares to raise it, although the billions that the increase in wages and pensions will cost could be used for other causes, such as helping save jobs.

Perhaps issues like this are those that explain that unlike what happens in many other countries, our young people do not want to be entrepreneurs or professionals, but civil servants. And it is that the facts end up proving them right. Officials tiptoed over the financial crisis of 2008-2013 and are tiptoeing over it again. It is true that in 2010 their salary was lowered, but then they were returned if not everything they lost, almost everything. Ask in the private sector how many workers were compensated for the adjustments made during the crisis. At most, the lost payments were recovered, but in no case with retroactive effects, as was the case in the public sector. And the truth is that these differences do not make any sense. In theory, as with investments, when you take more risks, you should earn more income, and in the public sector, job stability should compensate for that wage gap. But in our country exactly the opposite happens. In these last two crises, the differences between the salaries of the private sector and those of the public sector have been widening in favor of those of the latter, which have undergone far fewer adjustments.

According to the latest figures from the INE, which correspond to data from 2019 and, therefore, do not yet take into account the effect of the pandemic, the average gross salary in the public sector reached 2,760.9 euros per month last year, compared to 1,796.9 euros in the private sector, almost a thousand euros less. In addition, average wages in the public sector have increased by 4% compared to 2018, while the average wage in the private sector grew at a much lower rate, 1.4%. Therefore, public employees earn on average 53% more than salaried employees in the private sector.

The data. The average monthly salary, in gross terms, rose by 1.9% in 2019, to 1,982.3 euros, its highest figure since the series began in 2006, according to INE figures. However, there is a big difference between public and private wages. The former, with an average of 2,760.9 euros per month, are more than 50% higher than those in the private sector, which do not reach 1,800 euros per month.

Yolanda Gómez RojoYolanda Gómez RojoDeputy directorYolanda Gómez Rojo

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