“Our salary is not enough to live on,” say staff at the Spanish Embassy in the UK after a month-long strikeCredit: Twitter @PlexReinoUnido
Employees of the Spanish Embassy in the UK have been on strike for more than a month due to the rising cost of living.
Staff at the Spanish Embassy and Consulate in the UK have been on an indefinite strike for over a month. The CSIF union wrote a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, saying that many of them gave up their jobs in the consulates and the embassy and went to work in supermarkets or fast food restaurants. Recently, they also took their case to the European Parliament, in a petition protesting against “the extreme precariousness of the job in which they find themselves and the Spanish administration’s failure to respect several principles and rights”, according to Elmundo’s reports.
The situation affects 143 workers split between the country’s embassy and consulates, who care for the 176,000 registered Spaniards in the UK, although the figure is believed to be as high as 300,000 Spaniards.
The workers are demanding a direct increase in wages and improved working conditions because, unlike diplomats and civil servants, they have no agreement with the Spanish government, despite representing 90% of Spanish foreign service workers . “The salary is not enough to live on and there are salary imbalances between the new and the old”. Workers’ wages are currently around 20,000 pounds a year (23,969 euros) before tax and social security contributions in the UK, while the average salary in the country is around 32,000 pounds (38,402 euros).
The Spanish Embassy in London had a total of 97 Spanish employees, a figure which has dropped to 21 this year. According to a legation worker, “people leave because they can’t take it anymore”. In addition, he claims that one of his colleagues “had to take a vacation to have an operation” and another “had to return to work after having had a heart attack”, because when they take sick leave, their salary is totally removed.
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