06 August 2012

“Lend me something till I get paid ...”

This is a translation of a statement posted on Facebook today from the Alcalá council employees, following a fruitless meeting with the mayor earlier today.  They are now owed three months' back pay by the Council, and are effectively working for nothing.  I urge you to read it, especially if you live in or have property in Alcalá.  

“Lend me something till I get paid ...”

In the past, we could have counted on the fingers of one hand the number of times we said this. These days, unfortunately, we say it a lot.

Some of us can only eat thanks to our families. The letters arrive from the bank warning about delayed payments and increased overdraft charges, our phones are cut off for non-payment, cars are kept in the garage because we can't afford the new tyres needed to pass the MOT, and because the insurance ran out weeks ago - renewing it is out of the question. Our workmates can't afford to go on holiday, only to the beach with a sandwich lunch; others can't even to fill the petrol tank and drive to work. All in all, 2012 is turning out to be a great summer.

And all thanks to the bad management of politicians past and present in our Town Hall, because that's the reason why they aren't paying our wages. As one of the sayings popular on the social networks goes, “there's too much month left at the end of the money.” Although in our case, it's even worse. It's now been three months, and still nothing is happening.

Neither the political leaders nor the local government are saying anything. The days go by as if they weren't there, and if they really are worried that the council workers aren't getting paid, it doesn't show, it's as if they are hollow and without feelings. Certainly the Mayor, Don Julio Toscano, and the Deputy Mayor, Don Juan C. Fernández Luna, get paid punctually, one as a doctor and one as a professor, and it seems that any feeling of solidarity towards their municipal employees, who aren't earning, has disappeared completely. To cap it all, the opposition look on passively like spectators at a bull-fight, as if waiting for the bull to knock down the dwarf so they can have a good laugh.

 We, the municipal workers, are not politicians, nor leaders, nor councillors. The people didn't vote for us. We do not have the solution to the current problem, even though we have carried on offering our collaboration and participation to try and find it. We carry on doing our jobs so that the wheels can keep turning, even though we haven't received our salaries and have to endure day after day of the political giants fighting it out in the bullring.

 And to make matters worse, it will soon be the August Fair and with it a big financial outlay which the Council, that is to say the people of Alcalá, have to face. But we won't have to worry, because they are already looking to find the money for that. Bread and Circuses, as the Roman emperors said when they put on their games to keep the slaves happy. The Fair will take place even if there is no money, because they have already taken it from the public sector employees.

The municipal workers are the engine of the Town Hall, the gears of a system that must be oiled and ready to make life easier for our citizens, to whom we provide services. But the team currently in ofice don't seem to know that, or don't want to know, and don't realise that the engine is on the point of burning out.

July has come and gone, and we still haven't been paid ...

Assembly of the Municipal Workers of Alcalá de los Gazules


Anonymous said...

...oh how sad!!...will any of the employees be able to get 'anything' from charities, church or even relatives to keep them going?

....here in the US, the writing is on the wall with some towns already declaring bankruptcy but our masters in DC continue fighting to keep their power by buying votes.


Claire Lloyd said...

They are mainly relying on their families. The Church and the Red Cross are stretched to the limit providing food parcels etc for the long-term unemployed, whose benefits have been cut recently as part of the austerity measures. There is 33% unemployment here.

tobyo said...

this is so heartbreaking :(

Tumbit - Mr Grumpy said...

Funny how you never hear of those in Central Government going more than a few days without the late payment of their salary.

Anonymous said...

I just read a post on Spanish unemployment: http://zoetropic.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/the-indignant-indigent-youth-of-spain/

Is the level of unemployment described in this piece visible in Alcalá de Los Gazules?

Claire Lloyd said...

Yes, the unemployment rate in this area is one of the highest in Spain - around 33% and much higher for under-25s. Kids have to leave the town, or leave the country, to find work. We don't see street-beggars like the one described, but an increasing number of people knock on our door trying to sell bags of food that they have harvested in the campo, or tattered postcards of saints, or just asking if we have any spare cents because their families are hungry. This didn't happen when we first came here.