The drivers of the 22 ministers take the Government to the Supreme Court
The 750 drivers of the Presidency of the Government, the ministers and senior officials belonging to the State Mobile Park, as well as those who provide service in Casa Real and the General Council of the Judicial Power (CGPJ), among other organizations, are fed up that the Ministry of Finance, on whom they depend for work, ignores them and the Labor Inspection and does not establish a work calendar and a computerized signing mechanism, both issues, which are mandatory in any workplace since May 2019. On May 26 September the case reached the Supreme Court that will decide the jurisdiction over the complaint filed by the workers.
So tired are the drivers that it has been one of the “non-official” unions of the Mobile Park, the GTP (Group of Workers of the State Mobile Park), which has led the case against Minister María Jesús Montero, that is, the Government, up to the Supreme Court, which will decide whether the jurisdiction to elucidate this matter belongs to the Contentious-Administrative Courts or to the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid (TSJM). Already on September 26, the Contentious-Administrative Chamber of the Supreme Court issued an order to call the parties and settle this competition.
The current computerized system to register in the Mobile Park is practically non-existent. Only the drivers of the GAMO system (Automated Management of Official Mobility of the State), about 80 of the 750, can sign. The rest, when he gets to work, he writes down on a sheet, as well as the service he performs that day, and when he finishes he signs up again, if he remembers. Only the staff that is under control, specifically the 80 GAMO drivers, can do it with a mobile phone application that bears the same name.
This nineteenth-century system has already caused private and public complaints and even private lawsuits from some workers who have won, for the most part, in the labor courts, since the Park did not recognize their overtime. These complaints have been produced for years because the ministry of María Jesús Montero repeatedly refuses to comply with labor legislation, which since May 2019 requires signing and having a work calendar, something unprecedented in a public body that should lead by example. The complaints only provoked the reaction of a small union, the GTP, which reported these irregularities to the Labor Inspectorate in November 2020.
Specifically, the complaint included a claim about overtime, of “extraordinary services provided outside the normal working day as a result of the increase in hours that many drivers are usually forced to perform in response to the needs of the assigned driving services, are considered overtime (…)”. The problem is that in the State Vehicle Park it is impossible to know what overtime hours are recognized as such. Some Mobile Park workers explain that “if one day you have to work ten hours, surely the next day you will do less” and therefore, this practice is admitted sotto voce by some drivers, but not by all.
The Labor Inspector investigated the GTP complaint and whether there was a lack of “time control, work calendar and non-compliance with the special working hours agreement with respect to vacations and days of free disposal for the driving staff” and therefore required in a letter to the deputy director of Human Resources of the State Mobile Park (PME) information in this regard.
The response of the deputy director of Human Resources of the Park, Julio Gutiérrez, to the Labor Inspection was that “the PME does not have its own work schedule, adjusting to the provisions of current regulations (…)”. Regarding time control, the PME responded that “the specificity of the working day and special hours of the driving staff in the PME is motivated by the special characteristics that the management of driving services entails, both because of the type of users to whom they provide the services as the duration and character of the same based on the flexibility of the times and modes of provision. The drivers of the Mobile Park humorously call this “controlled loss of control”.
Even so the labor inspector sent a request to the Park “so that before the end of the year 2020 it proceeds to convene the representatives of the workers in order to begin negotiations for the preparation of the work calendar for the year 2021”. As both parties did not carry out the work schedule, one of the Park’s non-majority unions, GTP, went to court. The case went to the Contentious-Administrative courts, where the prosecutor, the parties and the State attorney appeared; from there it went to the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid (TSJM) and then to one of the contentious chambers of the National High Court, which returned it to the TSJM, which in turn sent it to the Supreme Court to establish which court is in charge to decide on such a complicated matter.
On December 30, 2020, the Labor Inspectorate received a new complaint, in this case referring to the “assignment of services during the celebration of the Climate Change Summit”. On this occasion, the Inspection required the Park «so that once a new resolution is drawn up where the instructions for the payment of the Park’s motoring services are posted, proceed to its publication (…)».
What did the Mobile Park do to avoid the Inspection? He resorted to an instruction from the management of the Mobile Park dated May 13, 2021, which says that “the official and labor personnel who provide services in the State Mobile Park will be governed in terms of working hours and hours by the work calendar established in the current Resolution of the Secretary of State for Public Administration (…)». In other words, there is no specific and specific rule for the Mobile Park to have its own Work calendar and therefore the workers must abide by the general rule, which obviously does not include the particular cases of the work of the Mobile Park. To get rid of another “brown” for the complaints about vacation shifts The same instruction states that “regarding the specific regulation of the summer day and the special day during local holidays, the provisions of the Resolutions of the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance on this matter will be followed.” More of the same for the drivers of the ministers, Constitutional judges and general directors among others.
The 750 drivers of the Mobile Park are in charge of driving from members of the Royal Family to general directors or similar, passing through the Presidency of the Government – with the exception of President Sánchez – ministers, secretaries of State, members of the CGPJ, of the Council of State, Attorney General’s Office, the Constitutional Court and a long etcetera of organizations. The Park has passenger cars, 302 armored cars, 7 motorcycles and microbuses to carry out its service and each department invoices directly the organization for which it carries out the service, for days or hours depending on the position they carry or the type of service carried out.
The staff at the service State Mobile Park As of December 31, 2021, it amounted to 873 people (87.4% men and 12.6% women), of which 86.8% are drivers and the rest are office and workshop staff. The driving staff has decreased in 2021 by 15 people, a total of 758 troops. It is 1.9% less of driving staff compared to 2020. In addition, most drivers are over 45 years old. That is why it is planned to hire new drivers before the end of 2022. The Mobile Park invoiced the ministries and other organizations for which it works 2.8 million euros in 2021.