X-ray of the public sector: There is no place for both interim

Officials serve some users at the Tax Agency in Barcelona.

Officials serve some users at the Tax Agency in Barcelona.

Spain is a country where there is no place for both interim. The abuse of temporality in public service is a sin reprimanded by the European Union on different occasions and in different ways. Autonomous parliaments have recognized it, microphones have said it through politicians who currently sit in the Council of Ministers and there are almost 900,000 workers with a temporary contract who can account for it. And despite the fact that no one dares to deny it, neither has there been a government so far that has been able, willing or known to rattle that cat.

Teachers, administrators, librarians, staff of public employment offices … the eventuality affects the 28% of public sector workers, according to the latest data from the INE regarding 2020. A temporality that exceeds that registered in the private sector by five points (23%). Among the white coats of doctors, nurses or practitioners – so applauded from the balconies during this pandemic – contracts for days or going in and out every little bit are common; to the point that one in 10 healthcare professionals has a contract of less than three months.

Temporality in the public sector is especially concentrated in those services managed from the autonomous communities and municipalities, which in turn employ 80% of public service workers. It is in the two main pillars of the Welfare State, in health and in education, where very high rates of temporary employment are concentrated: 41.9% and 29.1%, respectively, according to the latest data from the INE.

The central administration is already complying with its commitment not to exceed 8% of interns. His main problem is another: aging of your templates. To the point that, according to the CSIF union, half of the civil servants of the General State Administration will be of retirement age within a decade.

A scourge that comes from afar

One week after (March 19) the entire country was homebound by the COVID, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued the last and most forceful corrective to the Spanish public function. Three years after an interim computer scientist, with more than a decade without a fixed place, rolled the blanket over his head and will fight his case up to European authorities, the CJEU considered it to be proven that the Kingdom of Spain was committing an abuse of temporality.

The opposition freezes during the mandate of Mariano Rajoy they delved into the lack of calls to fill structural positions. And it is that the replacement rates, set annually by the central government, were 0% between 2012 and 2015; which resulted in many cases in which this neglected structural work was finished or continued to be carried out on an interim basis.

However, the high contingency in the civil service is prior to the cuts adopted after the fall of Goldman Sachs and the outbreak of the real estate crisis. Well, in 2006, two years before the economic model supported by the billet exploded, in Spain the eventuality in the public sector was already 26.5%.

European funds, notice and opportunity

One of the main challenges facing the new Minister of Public Function and Territorial Policy, Miquel Iceta, is reduce those high rates of temporary employment. Europe thus demands it from Spain and the Executive has committed to this. This is stated in the 211 pages of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan that the Government has prepared for submission to Brussels before April 30. And part of the arrival of the promised 140,000 million euros of NextGeneration EU funds depends on this.

There is commitment, but not the formula that will reduce these high levels of eventuality. Well, the document entrusts this maneuver to “An important modernization of public administrations, among other elements, aimed at reducing temporary employment in the public sector ”.


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