Treasury raises the rise of civil servants to 3.5% for 2023

Delegation of the Tax Agency. / R. C.

Brings closer the agreement with the unions by increasing salaries to 9.5% until 2024 and includes a variable part depending on the economic evolution of the country

Jose Maria Waiter

The agreement to raise the salary of civil servants between the Government and public service unions is closer after the Ministry of Finance has improved the amounts by which the salaries of this group will be increased both for next year and in 2024, although in both cases conditioned by the evolution of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Spain. In the meeting that took place this Thursday -the second between both parties-, the Executive has offered a proposal in which the wages of these workers will increase by 9.5% in those three years, compared to the 8% that Treasury put 24 hours before in the first meeting between both parties. And the unions -at least UGT and CC OO- have left satisfied waiting for their management bodies to study the document and assess its possible approval.

For 2022, the same idea is maintained: that officials improve their salaries by 1.5% (since January they rose 2%, when inflation was still around 4%). Although this increase is retroactive precisely from January 1 of this year.

The improvement will come substantially next year, when civil servants' salaries will increase by 3.5%. This is one percentage point more than in the last Treasury proposal. Specifically, the Government has proposed to the unions (UGT, CC OO and CSIF) a fixed increase of 2.5% with two variables: one, of an additional 0.5% linked to the accumulated CPI for 2022 and 2023, provided that inflation ends above 6% in both years; and another additional half percentage point if Spain grows above 5.9% in those two years.

And for 2024, the Treasury proposal goes through a rise that can reach 2.5%. It would be a fixed i of 2% plus a variable of half a percentage point more if the accumulated CPI for 2022, 2023 and 2024 exceeds 8%.

With these numbers on the table, the UGT and CC OO unions have shown a position closer to agreement than to rupture. In fact, in UGT, its general secretary of Public Services, Julio La cuerda, advanced this Thursday that the organization would accept this last proposal from the Government this Friday. In the case of CC OO, its coordinator of the public area, Humberto Muñoz, clarified at the end of the meeting that he would have liked more progress, especially in the non-salary part -that related to working hours and other issues- although he showed their willingness to agree, which in any case has to be assessed by the union. The organization most reluctant to accept the agreement is CSIF, the main civil service union. They refer, once again, to the meeting that will take place next Monday, since they consider the Government's approach insufficient and will demand a total increase of at least 10% for the three years, compared to the 9.5% that it's still on the table.

The Minister of Finance and Public Function, María Jesús Montero, indicated this Thursday when presenting the new fiscal plan of the Government that they hoped to reach an agreement “in the next few days”. She considers that the salary proposal that her department already transferred to the civil servants' unions on Wednesday allows "at least to alleviate the effect of inflation" on the group of public employees. The presentation of the State Budget project is imminent and the agreement with the representatives of the officials should arrive before the Council of Ministers begins the process of the public accounts for 2023.

Unlike pensioners, civil servants will have a rise in their salaries detached from inflation. The Government is willing to raise the payrolls of the more than three million public employees both this year with retroactive effect from January -with an additional payment that they would pay at the end of 2022-, and the following two years, but even the sum of those three increments. If the inflation figure for September is taken into account, the salary increase would already be higher than the 9% of the CPI for the last month in three years.

Both UGT and CC OO as well as CSIF had already praised the "absolutely unprecedented" fact that the Government contemplates a retroactive review for this year, but they expressed their opposition to a rise for next year of 2.5% that they consider « clearly insufficient”, since the forecasts that are handled place the CPI at 6%.

.However, the Government intends to mark with this proposal a path of wages led by containment, by betting on raising the wages of just over three million workers well below what prices are growing, at a time when the one that the negotiation of the vast majority of agreements for this year is stuck and waiting for an agreement between unions and employers that has not arrived.

The department led by María Jesús Montero has shown itself, yes, open to compensating with other measures the loss of purchasing power that officials have experienced this year and the one that they will foreseeably suffer in 2023, which is added to that deterioration in their ability to purchase of the last decade that the CSIF union places at 20%. In this sense, the Executive considers accepting an old demand of the unions: that of reducing the working day of public employees of the General State Administration to 35 hours per week, compared to the current 37.5 hours, which could serve as a example and also extend to regional and local administrations.

At the same time, he expressed his willingness to carry out improvements in internal promotion, both in terms of mobility and access, and also changes in the foreign workforce, although without specifying. Similarly, they promised to continue advancing in the development of the civil service law, in attracting talent and teleworking, which could allow 90% of the day in areas at risk of depopulation, according to the minister's progress on Wednesday. .