Civil service law includes limits on stability, strikes and unionism – Politics

Civil service law includes limits on stability, strikes and unionism – Politics
Civil service law includes limits on stability, strikes and unionism – Politics

Civil servants are governed by Law 1626/2000, which has numerous privileges over private sector workers. They enjoy “Job Stability” after two years of appointment and only have to work 40 hours a week, while in the private sector, stability is achieved after 10 years and the minimum is 48 hours a week.

Been: Politicians must withdraw their claws from education

The Peña administration submitted its bill to Congress to reform the law, a fact that put the teaching sector, which has its own regulatory law, on alert with several protests. Among its most contentious points is that it prohibits the same union leader from remaining in office forever (see table).

There are currently 320,000 civil servants in the central administration, decentralized entities and National Universities. The Ministry of Education has 96,000 civil servants, being the main state (and electoral) force. The Universities have 42,000 civil servants; the Ministry of the Interior 35,000 and the Ministry of Health 31,000.

The project also includes teachers, doctors, transport, water and energy workers as “essential services” and they will not be able to go on strike unless coverage is guaranteed.

The same law, which includes municipalities, prohibits direct nepotism (relatives of spending commissioners) which is why OPACI, a controversial Chartist NGO, opposed it.

As regards job stability, the unions are opposed to raising the benefit from two years to four years and to the possibility of eliminating this benefit, which is exclusive to the public sector, with periodic evaluations.

March during teachers’ strike.

Most contentious points

“Trade union” limitation: Orders the removal or renewal of the authorities of any state union. Establishes that leaders and delegates may only “be reelected for a single consecutive or alternating period.” If they are hired, only for two periods.

Right to strike vs. basic services: It limits the right to strike to “essential basic services” including teachers, doctors, passenger transport workers, as well as workers in water production, energy, among others. The Constitution only mentions the Police and Military in this category, but leaves the regulation open to other unions.

Nepotism: The “new version” of the bill prohibits hiring relatives in positions of trust (Art. 41, Paragraph “U”). OPACI, a private organization that manages municipal funds, opposes this point. However, the law also excludes the president, legislators, ministers and others from its scope.

Doctors and teachers: The Executive Branch says that white-collar workers and teachers are not included in the law, however, they do not appear explicitly on the list of those “excluded.” Furthermore, the Executive Branch contradicts itself since the law will affect them by limiting their union authorities and the right to strike.

Double Remuneration: It prohibits double state remuneration, although it does not mention binational entities. Teachers, researchers and health personnel are exempt.

Evaluations: Orders periodic performance evaluations to access stability and remain in office. A stable employee can be dismissed with three “failed” evaluations. The unions are against it.

Repeals: Repeals Law 1626/2000 and all its amendments. This law has been the subject of unconstitutionality actions for 20 years.

Working hours: It establishes a 40-hour work week (8 hours a day for five days). This article was attacked as unconstitutional even by officials of the Supreme Court of Justice who only want to work 6 hours.

Employment stability: It establishes that stability is gained by simply entering through a competition or by completing four years of appointment (The current law states only 2 years in the public service and the Labor Code sets 10 years in the private sector).

Binational: It has no scope whatsoever and this word is not mentioned even once. It even eliminates, from the previous version, the section that excludes the “Executive Representatives” before binational entities as “trusted” positions.

“Conservation” of economic rightsThe bill says the law will not affect the salaries of staff hired under the previous law.

Reporting System: Accepts anonymous complaints and orders investigations into cases. Investigations are also ordered ex officio.

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