15 Jun, 2023 @ 13:30
1 min read

Unions concerned about low staffing to deal with postal votes for Spain’s general election in July

correos post Frank Lindecke/Flickr
correos post Frank Lindecke/Flickr

A PLAN to draft in 12,000 extra postal workers to cope with the July 23 snap general election will be insufficient according to Spain’s biggest labour unions, who say that 18,000 staff are needed to cope with the number of people who will vote by mail. 

It emerged last week that the Spanish public postal service Correos would be drafting in extra staff to cope with the expected spike in postal votes at the elections, the first that have been held in the traditional summer vacation months since Spain returned to democracy in the 1970s. 

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called the surprise polls on May 29, a day after local and regional elections at which his Socialist Party and other leftist groups fared particularly badly. The polls were expected to be held in December. 

But the labour unions CCOO and UGT have called the existing plan ‘insufficient’, and said on Wednesday that 6,000 of the 12,000 extra workers will be covering regular members of staff who are on holiday. 

That leaves a net increase of 6,000 extra workers, which the unions said was not enough to cope with the extra work that will be generated by the postal votes. 

To complicate the situation further, Spain’s Central Electoral Board will require postal votes to be submitted along with a valid ID card. This decision, taken after several cases of fraud were detected at the recent local elections, will slow down the process yet further. 

“An opportunity has been lost to provide citizens with certainty and confidence in the electoral process,” the unions warned, in comments reported by news agency Europa Press. 

Some 2.5 to 3 million voters are expected to cast their ballot by post in July, at elections where the conservative Popular Party and far-right Vox are forecast to win enough seats in Congress to form a government.

Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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