WORKERS at the Spanish Embassy in London and consulates across the UK have called an ‘indefinite strike’ from Monday in protest at salaries not meeting the UK’s National Minimum Wage.
Civil servants or ‘funcionarios’ as they are known in Spain, will stage a march from outside the Embassy building in Belgravia’s Chesham Place to the Spanish consulate in Draycott Place at 12.30pm on Monday.
Protests are also planned for outside consulates in Manchester and Edinburgh.
Embassy staff warned that they will be operating with reduced staff during the industrial action after months of unsuccessful communications with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Madrid.
This could cause further delays to processes including visa applications and bureaucratic issues being dealt with by the embassy.
In a statement from workers staging the industrial action, a spokesman explained: “We are asking the Spanish Government for pay increases and wage parity after years of wage freeze.”
“The affected workers find themselves in a position of extreme insecurity and vulnerability caused by reduced purchasing power since their last annual salary adjustment in 2008. In addition, they are facing the effects of the cost-of-living crisis, amid significant rises in inflation and National Insurance contributions, while being restricted to three of the UK’s costliest cities.
“As a result, some salaries will be illegally under the threshold of UK’s National Minimum Wage after the next adjustment, causing real difficulties for workers.”
They continued: “This situation has led to a sense of abandonment by the Spanish Authorities, which has been particularly felt by the more established members of the team. Due to this lack of salary adjustment, some senior staff now find their salaries to be lower than those who have recently joined the team – that rarely reach 25k. Under these circumstances, they cannot foresee a future at the Spanish Mission.”