The lawyers of the Administration of Justice (LAJ) will put an end to the indefinite strike that has paralyzed the Spanish courts and tribunals for two months. 76% of the civil servants of this group have voted this Monday in favor of the offer of the Ministry of Justice to increase the salary up to 450 gross euros per month. The ‘yes’ to the proposal will be given this Tuesday, in a meeting scheduled at 11:00 a.m. with the department led by Pilar Llop, which will imply, once the last details of the pact are outlined, the cancellation of the strike that began last January 24.
The LAJ, known as judicial secretaries by their previous name, began the protests in search of a salary increase and statutory recognition in accordance with the functions attributed to them more than 14 years ago. After nine weeks of strike, the courts have been forced to suspend more than 356,000 trials and hearings and leave more than 424,000 lawsuits pending processing. Likewise, almost 1,300 million euros of the consignment account, whose management depends on the lawyers of the Administration of Justice, have been blocked.
The Ministry of Justice and the Strike Committee -represented by the National College of Justice Administration Lawyers, the Progressive Union of Justice Administration Lawyers and the Independent Association of Justice Administration Lawyers- arrived last Friday at a pre-agreement to end the labor dispute. A possible pact that has been submitted this Monday to a vote in assemblies throughout the country and that has been received with the majority support of this collective.
As reported by the National College of Lawyers of the Administration of Justice, of the 2,013 votes cast, 1,524 (representing 76%) have been in favor; 421 against (21%) and 68 abstentions (3%).
Protests before the Ministry
The two months of strike have been seconded by a large majority of the sector. According to the three convening associations, the average support of the lawyers of the Administration of Justice has been between 73% and 85%. Some figures that differ considerably from the accounts of the Ministry of Justice which, as reported during all the conferences, has quantified the follow-up between 18.9% and 33.92%,
The protests came to be planted before the doors of the headquarters of the Ministry of Justice on up to two occasions. Added to this were the “intense” dialogues, as the Strike Committee itself admitted, held with the ministerial team without reaching any kind of agreement. In fact, on February 16, in a first meeting, the two parties to the conflict sat down at a trading desk for more than 15 hours -from 5:00 p.m. to 8:25 a.m. the following day-, which concluded without progress and with cross reproaches.
One of the main demands of this group of civil servants was the recognition of a double ‘hook clause’, which involved charging 85% of what a judge earns- In numbers, this meant a salary increase of up to 600 euros a month, according to the ministry led by Llop. The Secretary of State, Tontxu Rodríguez, came to dismiss the strike as “political” and reproached the lawyers for asking for a salary increase when, according to what he said, they were “privileged people” who already earn “40,000 to 60,000 euros a year”. .
At the beginning, the negotiations on the part of the Government were headed by the number two of Justice, but, finally, the ministry decided to change the dialogue, putting the Secretary of State for Public Function, Lidia Sánchez, at the forefront and, on behalf of Justice, to the Secretary General of the Administration of Justice, Manuel Olmedo. After three meetings, an agreement was reached in principle. The Ministry of Justice proposed a salary increase of between 430 and 450 euros gross per monthto be paid in three installments and retroactively from January 1, 2023which will be added to the lists of lawyers in 2024.
The labor conflict had its origin in the promises of Justice, in April of last year, to increase the salary of lawyers by 195 euros per month (5.26%). The officials denounced that this measure never saw the light of day, as did a dozen commitments acquired at the time, including a 75% down payment clause. Thus, they carried out several days of strike in November and December 2022, which culminated in the indefinite strike that now seems to be coming to an end.
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