Spanish judges, prosecutors threaten government with indefinite strike

Prosecutors and judges on Tuesday threatened the Spanish government with an indefinite strike and the paralysis of the entire judiciary system if their demands of wage increases are not satisfied before Mid-May.

Following a three-hour partial strike on 17 April that led to the collapse of 700,000 judicial proceedings across the country, of which 20,000 were trials, judges and prosecutors have now announced an indefinite strike on 16 May unless the executive accepts their demands, national broadcaster RNE reported.

“The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Finance, with their attitude, will cause a new delay in the Administration of Justice that will take years to solve”, civil servants of the Administration of Justice said in reaction to the recent failed negotiations with the progressive executive.

In Spain, the gross median annual salary of a junior judge amounts to about EUR50,000, with senior judges in some cases earning up to EUR100,000 per year, sources consulted by RNE say.

A few weeks ago, court clerks went on strike for several days – an action that led to a pay rise of up to EUR450 per month, among other improvements, Spanish media reported.

However, a new strike could aggravate the already heavy workload in the Spanish courts, which, according to data from the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), have accumulated since January alone more than three million cases pending resolution.

“The courts and tribunals have been collapsed for years due to the lack of personnel and material resources”, sources working in the judiciary quoted by Cinco D?as lamented.

Besides the non-renewal of the CGPJ – which has been blocked for over four years – the pandemic and the lockdowns that ensued further delayed thousands of important files.

By the end of December, 3.4 million pending cases in Spanish courts, with the civil jurisdiction accumulating the most substantial part (1.2 million), CGPJ statistics show.

With elections around the corner, the president of centre-right opposition Partido Popular (PP/EPP), Alberto N??ez Feij?o, told 50 prosecutors affiliated to diverse conservative judges associations at a dinner on 18 April at the Claridge Hotel in Madrid that if he wins December’s general election, he will undertake an urgent legislative process that aims to repeals various laws approved by Prime Minister Pedro S?nchez’s government,El Pa?s reported on Tuesday.

While almost half of Spain’s 5,341 judges are affiliated with a magistrate association that leans towards the centre-right, 8% are part of an association that, like the current government, leans more left-wing. Some 44% are not affiliated with any organisation, El Diario reported.

(Fernando Heller

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