The Audiencia Nacional has ruled that the General Secretariat of Penitentiary Institutions distributed in an irregular manner to the end of 2017, with Juan Ignacio Zoido as minister of the Interior, 1.1 million euros as a complement of productivity between charges of Prisons. The ruling considers that this distribution —that benefited a thousand of managers of a template 23,500 workers— had to be negotiated with union representatives, so that what is declared null and void.
MORE INFORMATIONA poisoner with methadone in the prison of Huelva prison officers go on strike
The controversial decision now overturned by the justice was taken the 23 of November of 2017. That day, the then secretary general of Penitentiary Institutions, Ángel Yuste —who has held the post of head of Prisons in all the governments of the PP— signed an internal instruction in the detailing which Prison officers were to receive a bonus this Christmas with a charge to a surplus in the budget allocated to pay the complement of productivity to the prison officials. Were a total 1.1 million euros of a game that year exceeded 44 million.
The document determined that that money was to be divided between the directors, managers, assistant principals, and administrators of the 103 penitentiary establishments dependent on the Ministry of the Interior (Catalonia have transferred competence in prison matters), as well as between the staff in the central services of Penitentiary Institutions. Yuste justified at the time the decision in the “high degree of commitment and professionalism,” which they had shown to the officers and that he “had to be necessarily recognized and rewarded”.
Doubts over the return of the money
The failure of the National Audience does not detail if the thousand positions of Correctional services was benefited by the distribution of the complement of productivity, declared “null and void” should return the amounts received and, if so, how would the return. Legal sources of CSIF claim that “this point will be the subject of future negotiation between Prisons and unions”. However, do not Timebet rule out that need to be replaced, which is a discount of future perceptions or, even, that are not required to return it. For these sources, “what's really important is that, from now on, any distribution of this package must be agreed with the representatives of the workers”. A spokesman for the Prison confirmed that the current team of Interior will appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court to argue that the justice rejected prior lawsuits filed by two other unions on the same facts.
The maximum responsible of Prisons emphasized in that statement that the functions developed by all of them were “essential to ensure the proper functioning” of the prisons, “as well as to ensure a constant improvement of its activity, obviously, and in global terms, it is in the quality of the public penitentiary service and promotes the progress of each to a greater satisfaction of the society that it serves”.
The decision meant that the directors and managers received a bonus in the payroll of December 2017 of 150 euros for each month of that year that they had performed managerial functions —up to a maximum of 1,800 euros— and 182 euros in the case of assistant directors and administrators —up to 2.184 euro—. All this in a single payment. The announcement of the measure led to the protest of the trade unions, several of which filed an appeal to nullify it.
The demand of the Central trade Union Independent and of Officials (CSIF) —that is the one that has now estimated the National Audience— believed that Interior had committed an “arbitrary” to adopt the measure “one-sided, irrational and unfair” by not being seated to negotiate with the representatives of the workers how to do this deal. This lawsuit was resolved in the first instance last April by the holder of the Central Court Contentious-administrative 7, Ana María Jimena, who considered that the decision of Prison was null and void because of not being “under law”.
This first ruling was appealed by the Interior, even with the PP in the Government, with the argument that it was not obliged to discuss with the unions the deals extraordinary productivity. Interior claimed that he was covered by an internal instruction of Penal Institutions in 1997, which then itself was the subject of negotiation with the representatives of the workers.
The State attorney said in his appeal that if he had to engage in previous conversations with the unions to determine how they divided the amounts for productivity, that “impede the effective functioning of the Administration”. These arguments have now been rejected by the four judges that make up the Fifth Section of the Room of the Contentious-administrative of the National court, in support of the decision taken in April by his companion, Ana María Jimena. The court insists on the “nullity” of the distribution of 1.1 million euros to the estimate that this should have been “preceded by a collective bargaining [...]irrespective of the outcome of the negotiation.” The ruling also condemns the Interior to pay the costs of the lawsuit.