The threat of collapse that hangs over the Spanish courts is increasingly serious.
The lawyers of the administration of justice will continue with the indefinite strike that began on January 24, after several partial strikes in previous months, due to the lack of agreement with the Government to achieve salary and labor improvements that in some cases have been demanded for one of each.
The 15-hour meeting, which the strike committee of the former judicial secretaries held from five in the afternoon on Thursday to nine in the morning today at the Ministry of Justice, failed to resolve a crisis that, according to the organizers of the stoppages, have caused the suspension of 152,000 trials and hearings.
The civil servants' strike committee reproaches that the ministry has not made them a "concrete offer" to satisfy their demands,
"Limiting itself to repeatedly requesting the immediate revocation without any specific commitment."
Justice has accused the lawyers of having abandoned the negotiating table, which they deny.
The follow-up to the strike is also affecting the operation of the Supreme Court, which was already going through a delicate situation due to the impossibility of filling the vacant posts due to the PP's rejection of the renewal of the General Council of the Judiciary.
In addition to the closure of the general registry, another of the consequences is the paralysis of the judicial consignment account, which has meant that there are 560 million euros that have been blocked and, therefore, pending delivery, according to the lawyers.
The spokesman for the strike committee, Juan José Yáñez, holds a notebook on the salary adequacy of the LAJ, at the doors of the Ministry, this Friday in Madrid.
Carlos Lujan (Europa Press)
The result of the first meeting between the parties after more than three weeks of strike has further stressed the negotiations, despite the fact that the day before the Minister of Justice, Pilar Llop, was "sensitive" to the requests of the body of lawyers and declared itself "open to dialogue" in a questioning of the PP in Congress.
"Minister, solve the labor problems that affect her ministry and also prosecutors, judges and forensics," urged the popular deputy Luis Santamaría Ruiz.
The meeting held by the strike committee, made up of the National College of Lawyers, the Progressive Union of Lawyers (UPSJ) and the Independent Association of Lawyers (Ainlaj), and various officials from the ministry, headed by the Secretary of State for Justice, Tontxu Rodríguez, did not help to unravel the crisis.
The disagreement is complete, as demonstrated by the enormous difference in the data that Justice and the lawyers transfer from the monitoring of the strike: the organizers estimate that participation in the strikes ranges from minimums of more than 70% to maximums of 85%, while the Ministry lowers it to a range between 19% and 34%.
Fifty lawyers from Andalusia, Catalonia, the Valencian Community,
Galicia and Aragon gathered at the beginning of the meeting in front of the entrance of the ministry with proclamations such as "yes we can!"
and "Llop resignation!".
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Justice has released a statement in which it stresses that the lawyers have risen from the negotiating table after "having raised their demands without proposing any alternative."
Tontxu Rodríguez has shown his surprise at this position of the strike committee, which he has described as "unusual and contrary to good negotiating faith".
“When one sits at a negotiating table, they must start from the demands initially raised and be willing to make some concession;
the only proposal made tonight by the lawyers of the Administration of Justice demonstrates a clear lack of will to reach any type of agreement”, said Rodríguez.
One of the main demands of the 4,441 lawyers of the Administration of Justice in Spain is to receive 85% of the salary remuneration of judges and magistrates, which would mean an average increase of 600 euros per month.
The body of lawyers belongs to the A1 group of State officials, the highest in the Administration rank.
His salary ranges between 37,697 and 57,722 euros in the courts (plus variable remuneration);
and between 42,554.92 and 58,979.72 euros in the judicial office, according to data from the ministry.
"We believe that referencing our salaries to 85% of those of judges and magistrates would be appropriate to our responsibilities," says Juan José Yáñez, from the UPSJ.
The lawyers charge around 65% of the judges' salaries, according to several consulted lawyers.
The labor conflict has its origin, according to the strike committee, in "the lack of salary adjustment due to the greater functions and responsibilities attributed by Law 13/2009, discharged to judges and increased in successive reforms, especially that of 2015″, when the judicial offices came into operation.
The lawyers not only direct them, they also order the activity of the courts, so their work is key in the daily transfer of the courts.
The lawyers reproach the minister for almost a year having passed without fulfilling the commitment that, in their opinion, she made in April 2022 to "update the remuneration regime" of this body "linking it proportionally to that of the judicial career."
Justice denies that the commitment was signed and maintains that the salary increase is not feasible.
"It is one of the bodies of the administration that has had the highest tax increase," said Llop on Wednesday in Parliament.
The strike committee replies that the increase they are demanding is not linear, like the one that all officials have received, but the aforementioned salary adjustment for their greater responsibilities.
Another reason for dispute, which Justice seems willing to "study" according to the strike committee, is the complement for the destination in which the lawyers carry out their tasks.
“For a reason that is difficult to understand, we are classified into five population groups and in the last two, corresponding to small towns, we are paid much less than the rest.
However, the officials that we have subordinates receive the same remuneration because they only have three groups, which in some cases causes the lawyer to receive a lower remuneration than that of his subordinates, which does not seem very correct”, Yáñez explains.
The solution would be to reduce the population groups designated to lawyers from five to three.
The National College of Lawyers emphasizes that they reached a "firm agreement" with Justice in March last year, which in some cases would mean an improvement in the supplement of up to 4,000 euros per year.