Six weeks of strikes at the Consulate General and the Embassy of Spain in the UK have left nearly 15,400 Valencians affected and without consular procedures over the past 40 days.
The strike, to which the majority of workers agreed, came after months of unsuccessful talks with the State Department. Before getting started, workers for months denounced the “precarious situation in which the group finds itself”, exacerbated by the impact of Brexit on the British economy.
They denounce that workers without an agreement abroad are not civil servants. In the case of the United Kingdom, most of those working in consulates and embassies are Spanish immigrants residing in the country, performing very diverse jobs such as service staff, cooks, organized drivers, administrative assistants, bilingual assistants or administrative officials, among others.
In recent weeks, consulates, which provide regular services to more than 176,000 Spaniards residing in the country, have continued to operate with minimal services, a fact that causes significant delays in applying for passports, obtaining certificates or registering facts at the civilian consulate. Register, procedures are in high demand by Spaniards residing abroad.
Specifically, more than 15,400 Valencians residing in the UK are affected. This strike, workers say from a statement, “further exacerbates the complex situation of the UK’s foreign service, affected by the impact of Brexit and the increase in the volume of actions that Spanish citizens have had to undertake over the past months.”
In fact, they continue, according to the latest data published by the National Institute of Statistics, the United Kingdom is the country in the world where Spanish immigration grows the most. For their part, workers at the Spanish consulate and embassy in the UK, through a petition to the European Parliament, denounced the “extreme job insecurity in which they find themselves and the breach by the Spanish administration of various principles and rights”.
The staff are also demanding “that European legislation applicable to post-Brexit public servants be respected”. Among other things, the group calls on the Spanish administration “to respect equal pay and to put an end to discrimination in working conditions among workers.”
A call for urgent action
Staff have begun collecting signatures through change.org to fight for a good UK foreign service and ask the Foreign Office to “act urgently to resolve this crisis that has been affecting citizens for years, and to take immediate action. To ensure service quality and respect for the rights of citizens abroad.”
They deplore the feeling that “the Spanish administration has abandoned a position of great danger, which makes it impossible to be consistent in service, to make tasks professional and to carry out their duties efficiently”.