The Spain of privileges
Are they public servants or do they take advantage of working for the State? This question has arisen with great force in the political, economic and social debate after the mutiny carried out in the last week by the group of controllers . No one can explain that a collective with such a salary and favorable working conditions persists in the 21st century, but it is even harder to understand that they do not want to make any kind of sacrifices. In a country with more than four million unemployed and in which a large part of its citizens is a mileurist, it is difficult to understand that there are still bodies and unions with exceptional conditions protected by public action. Of course, no one wants to give up the perks that he has enjoyed for dozens of years. It is the Spain of privileges .
The old public structures have begun to creak as soon as
the state has been forced to make a hard adjustment of expenses to reduce the public deficit . To the extent that elite bodies, unions and some groups of public workers have an enormous capacity for pressure, there is a risk that they will kidnap society as hostages. Just what happened with the controllers. Can it happen again? In some groups yes, in others an ingrained sense of duty makes it unthinkable. What would happen to the negotiation of the sovereign debt if the State’s economists were planted? The same could be said with the tax inspectors at a time when the tax collection has fallen by 28%; A strike to regulation would leave the State bankrupt. The same can be said of judges, notaries or registrars.
The debate opened by the government and the opposition is whether at this juncture the state has to yield to the pressures of these groups or continue to advance in its liberalization as proposed by the services directive.
Fortunately, in the last twenty-five years there has been a modernization of society, accelerated by the process of joining the European Union, as the current Bank of Spain Governor, Miguel Ángel Fernández Ordóñez, who was the first president of the Bank of Spain, likes to recall. Court of Competition and one of the people who has fought the most to eliminate these privileges.
Within the list of elite bodies are judges, one of the groups most valued by public opinion.
According to government sources, this group is one of the few that has not made the transition that has made all the strata of society, including the army. It is a caste of senior officials many of whom have opposed modernization. It is a power with a life of its own. As happens everywhere, there are judges who work hard and justify their remuneration, but they do it of their own will rather than for an obligation of productivity as in the private sector. The protests now almost two years ago showed their capacity for pressure. In the midst of the financial crisis, they set up a plant to demand more money -informatics, a different organizational system and ultimately more effective because there are 10 magistrates per hundred thousand inhabitants when there are 19 in Europe. There are about 2,000 people with a high salary for their rank and an enormous capacity to generate resources via books, seminars, etc. as it was revealed in the complaint that they themselves made of Baltasar Garzón.
It is precisely the malfunctioning of Justice that has allowed them to have become essential for the proper functioning of the things to the notaries and the need for someone of “Public Faith” for companies and families to resolve inheritances, buying and selling, etc. It has given them a special status. They have ceded the execution of a power of the State and in exchange they charge through a regulated tariff. The liberalizing efforts have been constantly reduced since 1989 and from 6 million euros it is negotiable. In addition, they have allowed the citizen to choose the notary.
The other side of the coin, as the notary Álvaro San Román explains, is his contribution to preventive legal security and advice. “We avoid the cost of litigation and we act as intermediaries between two parties that are sometimes very unequal. But also, we give security to economic relations. No operation has been delayed by a notary, but on the contrary we are in a permanent process of technological innovation. We have the largest and safest private network in Europe, according to Microsoft. ” This has allowed them to assume control functions in economic transactions and prevention of money laundering.
But even more profitable is the situation of its eternal rivals, the registrars.
They do not even assume the responsibilities of a notary before their clients, they simply register the entries correctly in a register, charge for it a tariff that is not negotiable, nor can a registrar be elected.
The deputy of UPyD, Rosa Díez, has asked in Congress about the recent decision to convert registrars into tax liquidators, which in practice allows them to collect two “salaries” from the State. The registrar manages to enter the body with an opposition and retains his place for life, as the president of the PP, Mariano Rajoy in Santa Pola (Alicante), although he does not exercise it because he has spent 20 years engaged in political activity that makes it incompatible .
In these elite bodies, state lawyers and auditors can work in public companies, charging a separate salary as an incentive. In fact, a high official recognizes that the privilege in itself is that of being an official to the extent that it supposes having a permanent job, and although the salary is lower than the private sector, this becomes a key factor in times of crisis. However, privileges are not hidden there because everything is highly regulated by the Statute of Public Function. Very different is the situation of companies and public entities that escape general intervention and that admit peculiar situations such as controllers, says Rafael Colomer, a spokesman for Fedeca (Bodies of State Administration).