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Spanish public sector waste: Story Number 1
17 July 2012 @ 16:13

A lad I work with was telling me about his best mate in Madrid, who is a functionario (civil servant) at the Ministry of Defense in the capital.  He works in an admin/accountancy role and his official working hours are 8:00am until 3:00pm.  He disappears for breakfast around 9:30 am for half an hour, which is standard for public sector "workers".  He had noticed that after he and his colleagues got back from breakfast, some of his colleagues would then disappear with a sports bag for an hour or so.  He was intrigued as to where these people went to so he followed them one day and discovered that they were heading down to the Ministry of Defence gym in the basement of one of the buildings.  

So now this guy heads down to the gym for an hour or so after he's had his breakfast.  He also told my mate that they often leave at 2:00-2:30pm instead of 3:00pm as they should do.  So this guy basically works around 25 hours per week and picks up a full time salary of 2000 euros per month after tax.

What a joke.

Like 0


Alfonso Vargas said:
17 July 2012 @ 18:21

After reading this text, I'm an indignant Spanish civil servant for two reasons:
-If this story is true, indignant with that irresponsible people defrauding all of us with this kind of behaviour, together with their incompetent bosses, unable to control this misbehaviour.
-But also ungry with the irresponsible author of this note, with no signature name, because I can tell you that this is not a general way of behaving among Spanish civil servants. Of course there are abuses, but most of them work hard and seriously. This is not fair to blame them of all the evils the country is suffering. Journalist should be much more carefull with their writings. Streets are about to burn, and everybody has to be carefull, specially those like you with a potential to damage the image of a country with this kind of unfunny and unfair "jokes". Please put aside these stories, hurting many honest people.

Spanish Business News said:
17 July 2012 @ 23:24

Alfonso, I'm sure there are some hard working civil servants. I'm yet to meet one though in my nearly 4 years living in Spain.

Why should the public sector be able to finish work at 3:00pm when those of us in the private sector have to work until much later?

Also, why can't functionarios eat their breakfast at home before they leave for work, instead of during working hours?

Alfonso Vargas said:
18 July 2012 @ 08:51

Then, you have a problem in your environment, with the people you know. I could help you to meet many honest and hard working civil servants, just within my family and my closest circle. You don't have any idea about how many hours per day, including weekends, I and many others work.
In UK there are also abuses, am I right? I know that in your country there is a different timetable, but do you think that half an hour break is a crime when your timetable is from 8am to 3 pm? Please, be serious, as a journalist should be.
Nothing is perfect, but I admire UK for many reasons. As a foreigner, I'd never think on insulting a whole group of british citizens because some of them misbehave. Likely, the problem is more on their bosses and leaders (including political leaders).

Andenca said:
23 July 2012 @ 09:56

The problem is one of poor management at the top and lack of leadership. My sister started working as a civil servant at the very bottom (auxiliary in admin) and has worked her way up to be now managing a section of a department. She knows every single job it needs to be done in her office and has done a skills assessments of the people working there. If a team doesn't have good lidership to motivate them the general moral is very low and they do not put pride in the work they do. By tradicion, high post in the public jobs have always been political or by direct appointment (a dedo) rather than by merit and thas is the root of the problem.

midasgold said:
23 July 2012 @ 10:35

A pensioner (E.O.S.last week)told how it took SIX bits of paper
to claim his money back for a prescription which could be sorted at time of purchase . It is this kind of waste in time and money
that Spain is so good at ! Until they understand this type of behaviour is a big drain on society they will allways be asking the I.M.F. for the next loan/handout.

Mavis Hanson said:
23 July 2012 @ 10:47

I agree with you Alfonso, I am English but have many Spanish friends, some of whom work in the town hall, they may leave at 2.30, but they go back at 5 and work until 8, 9 or even 10 in the evenings, and I know this first hand as I attend many of their meetings
some of my other friends work in shoe factories, and they work 13 hours every day, with 2 hours for lunch, they cannot just take a day off when they want to or go on holiday when the factory is open, as their boss will just replace them
I have yet to meet a Spaniard who is not hard working and industrious

Deborah said:
23 July 2012 @ 11:12

I agree with Alfonso that it is unfair to blame the funcionarios. It is the system that is at fault.
Midasgold mentioned the ridiculous amount of paperwork generated to carry out a simple thing. This is the root of the problem.
I opened my business as a luxury dog boarding facility here this year. It took me years to get my licence; it took an unbelievable amount of paperchasing to get the project passed, all required contracts in place, sound tests, proof of adequacy of fixtures ... Not only did it cost me a king's ransom, it also cost a huge amount of time and money in respect of the volume of work required of the illustrious gentlemen of the oficina técnica.
Last week I was required to have an inspection of our depuradora by the Confedración Hidrológica de Segura. FIVE people turned up in two cars. I spoke only to one of them - the rest just stood and listened aimlessly.
This sort of runaround system cannot be good value for money for the Spanish taxpayer !

moonbeam said:
23 July 2012 @ 14:40

I agree with Alfonso that people shouldn´t be judged together in one big group for the fault of some. However, in England and Spain civil servants have always had a bad reputation for work
productivity, due to lack of accountability as there are
always so many layers of management.

I had a friend in the English Civil Service who was so underemployed that they used to spend the day having competitions to make the longest chain of paperclips!
This has changed due to cuts in excess staff throughout the
Civil Service and more accountability demanded for performance, as in the private sector.

On the whole, the civil servants work hard here and need
better management and leadership - not hit with a stick
and threatened with pay cuts. It makes me indignant when
they talk about eliminating the 'extra pay' at Christmas because
this is not extra, it is part of the yearly salary and it is just
that the salary is divided into 14 parts, and not 12. So this is a salary cut, and not a perk being taken away.

tomas said:
23 July 2012 @ 16:49

Alfonso is partly right. I am Irish & worked for a UK council (9-5) and there are many time wasters too.

But what Spanish & UK & Irish civil servants cant see is how what they see is acceptable is not acceptable to the rest of us.

30 minutes for a coffee break ... come on!! In Ireland they found civil servants were still taking worktime to go to the bank to cash their pay cheque when they have been paid electronically for 10 years!

The problem in councils is that workers become instutionalised that they cannot distinguish what is realistic or fair.

In English Council workers are called Public Servants rather than civil. Why dont they serve their public?

Why do workers have to take off work to go to the town hall? What cant town halls open in the evening & encrease the regional productivity?

DoeDoe said:
23 July 2012 @ 17:24

Who is in charge of the system when people that do have work in Spain and earn 2000 a month, the person at the head of the department allow them to sneak for half of the day. This head of department needs to be axed and replaced with new department head. Thousands of people need work in Spain, there must be several that could fill the boots of this Idiot.

David H said:
23 July 2012 @ 19:21

The problem is that not so long ago Spain had mainly an agricultural economy employing, you may say enslaving, vast numbers of workers. Foreign money arriving from tourism and retirees from northern Europe has created employment, again for vast numbers of people. Unfortunately education has not kept-up, so many people are doing little jobs and making them last another day, another week, another year; hence time-wasting in the working day. If Spain can focus hard on what it does best, defeat corruption, and sell itself and ever more of its produce to the world I think we will see an enormous change for the better. Remember, it is widely forecast that the nuveau riche of the 21st century will be farmers, and the current wealthy want to see the world.

Mike in Spain said:
23 July 2012 @ 22:29

I call at Hacienda in Torremolinos a couple of time a year, I noticed how on certain days some of the civil servants are attending people and others are just sitting at their computers, then on other visits noticed that some of these situations had switched round.... anyway, over my visits I got to see what some of the ones sitting at their computers where doing and the ones I got to see where playing solitare! After that I understood how it worked, some days some funcionarios worked and on other days they switched around, this way there appears to be enough work to keep all the people there in work, so I guess we are actually getting 50% of a productive work force and then with anything else that is added 'coffee breaks, fag breaks etc.' then even less, in other words we are probably paying twice as much tax as we need to because of how the system works.

In Ireland, my niece got a temp job filling in at a government department before he nursing place came up at the London hospital she had got a training position in. She told me there where 11 people in the department/office she worked in but in the whole time she was there 'a couple of months' no more than 5 where ever in work on any day, the others where off sick, pregnancy, one thing or another, so at that rate it works out much the same as the Spanish system where people are probably paying twice as much tax as they need to.

I have been in Spain and I could go on but I do not want to be accused of Spanish bashing but I have seen and heard a lot here from funcionarios and in general I am very fed up with them in their jobs for life, not just at Hacienda but in every aspect of the system, registro, town halls etc. Local police, Juzgado. I wish I could get the wages and pensions they get and I work self employed over 60 hours a week, every week, every month of the year, every year......... paying taxes, more taxes and more taxes with very little left for me at the end.

Tomas said:
26 July 2012 @ 21:26

I am not suprised to see the story about the Irish civil servants ... their level of sickness is huge. The government has just halved the level of entitlement but done it over 2 years again they chose not to be really tough.... and tackle the timewasters.

Regarding Managers some may be bad but usually it is due to the unions, they are afraid to deal with lazy workers ... and iof course Unions never have bad members! With the crisis the governments in Europe should challenge the unions, people are fed up with the timewasters they defend.

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