Salary increase for staff at Spanish Consulate in Sydney after 9-year pay freeze
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Staff at Sydney’s Spanish Consulate-General are on indefinite strike as of 23rd June 2017 after a nine year pay freeze, including no wage increases in line with inflation.
The Spanish Government has refused pay increases to the locally hired eight Australian citizens and residents since 2009. Their salaries are the absolute minimum allowed under the clerical award. The Fair Work Commission announced a 3.3% increase to minimum wages. The increase applies from 1st July 2017. This means as of 1st July the salaries of staff currently on indefinite strike are under the minimum in the clerical award, and therefore illegal. So far, the Ambassador of Spain in Canberra Mr Manuel Cacho Quesada hasn’t replied to the staff’s claims nor announced salaries will be adjusted to the legal minimum. Concerned staff have had a meeting with the Director of DFAT’s NSW State Office and are also organising appointments with their local MPs.
Staff have been trying to negotiate pay rises since last year but to no avail. They are also angry that their skills and tasks are not reflected in the duty descriptions and rates as set out under the clerical award.
The Embassy in Canberra tried to minimise the impact of the strike by diverting work to their offices, not respecting the right to strike guaranteed by the Spanish Constitution.
Consular staff are seeking:
- an immediate pay increase to cover the lost CPI increases since 2009
- the start of negotiation to bring wages and conditions in line with the Australian Public Service, including an automatic salary increase mechanism
- move professional classification to the Australian Public Service Work Level Standards
Similar strikes are being held by 7,000 staff around the world working in Spanish embassies, consulates and trade commissions, including in the US, Argentina, Brazil, Sweden, Finland, Canada, Uruguay, El Salvador and the Spanish embassy to the EU in Brussels.
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