Two Spanish workers fired after 15 years of absence

Union to launch legal appeal against dismissals

Sunday 03 July 2016 18:44 BST
Concerns were initially raised after it was found the pair had not worked between 2015 and 2016
Concerns were initially raised after it was found the pair had not worked between 2015 and 2016 (Wikimedia Commons/atardecer)

Two Spanish council workers have been fired after the local town hall discovered they had been absent for up to 15 years.

Despite continuing to collect their wages from the Jerez de la Frontera authority in Andalusia, southern Spain, a driver and gardener could have been skipping since the turn of the millennium.

Concerns were initially raised among human resources officials after it was found the pair had collected their pay but had not worked from January 2015 until May 31, 2016. Further investigation of records revealed neither had done a day’s work in 15 years.

The council said in a statement: “Two representatives of the General Confederation of Labour union (CGT) have gone years without coming to work.

“According to a written statement by the men themselves, this situation could date back 15 [years].”

The CGT union, which both men are members of, said the employees were legitimately taking their "accumulated days" off as part of a tacit agreement with the council.

The council said this was insufficient reason to allow him to avoid work for the rest of the year, which it said was his intention.

Juan González, a representative of CGT, denied claims by the council about the men’s conduct and said the union will launch a legal appeal against the dismissals.

Investigators also found a number of the town’s local police force were working less than expected. In 2015, one policeman worked for just 96 days, another for 66 days and a third for 47 days.

The employees claimed they were attending meetings, but investigators found these events never took place, according to the municipal government’s statement.

It added: “In some cases it is curious that they claimed to have had these meetings on public holidays, obviously without it taking place at all.

“This government again confirms its decision to end the irregular labor situations that may have been happening for some time within the breast of the town hall."

Earlier this year, Spanish civil servant Joaquín García was fined €27,000 by a court in Cádiz after skipping work for six years. His absence was noticed only when he was due to collect an award for long service.

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