18/01/2022

Parliament's indispensable rectification

2 min
Meeting of the Bureau of the Parliament

There could be no other outcome. The logical public indignation as a result of this newspaper's denunciation of 'age-based leave' that allowed staff to continue receiving their salary without working for a few years before retirement unavoidably had to lead to the cancellation of this abusive privilege within the civil service . The attempt to halve it, agreed three weeks ago and announced on Monday by Speaker Laura Borràs meant perpetuating a serious anomaly, a comparative grievance impossible to justify in the times of economic crisis we live in, marked by the lack of work opportunities and job insecurity that affect many people. That within the public sector (in the private sector it may also be debatable, but there the money we all pay in taxes is not at stake) such notoriously non-exemplary situations occurred was not acceptable. It should never have existed.

In any case, it is clear that, once the scandal was underway, the initial decision to agree to a reduction in the length of age-based leave from 5 to 3 years was the result of a miscalculation: it was an underestimation of the extent of public unease caused by the news uncovered by the ARA. In the end, therefore, the right decision has been taken and, therefore, we must congratulate ourselves for the Parliamentary Bureau's rectification, which means putting an end to this practice, even if the twenty-one people who have already benefited from this system over the years will maintain their acquired rights. In the future, however, there will be no new beneficiaries. They should not be allowed in other environments either: to his end, it is essential to continue investigating whether similar situations are common in other parts of the administration, hiding behind a lack of transparency that is a burden against which we must also continue to fight.

The political class and civil servants themselves, with their union representatives at the forefront, should be the first to be interested in putting an end to this type of systems which remain incomprehensible for regular people, who do not have a secure job, who live on modest salaries or who have no job at all. The only thing that privilege like the one that has now been exposed in Catalonia's Parliament causes is the degradation of popular perception of public service. It projects the image that these are people who, instead of serving citizens, are mainly concerned with obtaining an exaggerated and unjustified position of privilege. And the fact is we are not talking about jobs of great hardship or in difficult working conditions, but jobs in an environment of public relevance that entail obvious additional protection. The fact that, in addition, this situation has occurred in the chamber of representatives, and that it has been tolerated by these elected officials for years, lays an additional paradoxical layer to the situation and is detrimental to the prestige and solidity of our democratic system.

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