The number of hours of union leave used in Ancap was a matter that the entity’s Board of Directors focused on almost immediately after taking office in 2020. In just over two years and after evaluating the situation, the company’s management decided to make changes with the aim of reducing them, something that is rejected by the union. Today the issue was suspended pending a decision that has to be taken at the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.
The hours of union leave is a point that was contemplated within the collective agreement that had been renewed every year since 1993. That agreement included 2,640 hours per month plus 200 hours for the Fancap representative before the PIT-CNT secretariat. Its design was based on the number of employees that the entity had at that time -about 6,000-, compared to just over 2,000 that it currently has.
The agreement was denounced by the company in August 2021, and since December of that year, by decision of the authorities, half an hour of union leave was applied for each affiliated employee until there was a new agreement between the company and the workers. That supposes a quota of 749 union hours available per month, almost a quarter of what was previously in force, although on several occasions this year a greater amount was used.
Initially, the company deducted from the workers the number of union hours used above the established, but later it was stopped and it was decided to put the issue to the consideration of the Higher Council of Collective Bargaining of the Public Sector that works within the scope of the Ministry of Labor. It is in this area, with the participation of all parties, that the criteria to be used should be agreed upon.
“We applied the change with some tolerance and that was not accepted by the union. There were stoppages and complaints of all kinds. To avoid major trouble we go to the Superior Council. Incredibly after almost a year he has not given answers. We are waiting for them to find out how many there will be, between what we had before and what the company proposed, taking into account the difference in workers, which is one third or less of what there was at the time the union hours were established by agreement.” , said to The Observer the representative of the National Party in the Ancap Board of Directors, Richard Charamelo.
With the scheme in force by the denounced agreement, the maximum annual value of union hours was 31,680, in addition to the hours corresponding to the representative before the PIT-CNT, which were about 2,400 per year, which totaled a quota of 34,080 hours.
According to official data to which he accessed The Observerandn 2017, 30,470 hours were completed, in 2018 a total of 33,594 hours, and in 2019 the figure rose to 35,916 hours. That year the entity paid an excess of 1,836 union hours, whose value is variable because it depends on the salary of each official. On average, the value/hour for that year was $280.81, so the additional cost of those hours exceeded $515,000, equivalent to US$13,800 at the exchange rate at that time. Then, during 2020, 25,427 hours were used and in 2021 the amount rose to 22,636.
“We have had months of 1,700 hours, of 1,800 union hours against our decision. We set 749 hours, but if the Superior Council says that there are 1,100 hours and you go too far, all those hours have to be replaced. It is not yet being discounted while waiting for the Superior Council to decide in favor or against our position. There is nothing that stipulates that 2,500 hours must be given, but what is normally stipulated is half an hour per affiliated worker”, said the director of Ancap.
“Surely in the first quarter of next year if there is no news, we are going to take measures in this regard because we consider that this cannot be left to the will of those who want to consider that they have such or how many hours. It seems excessive to me,” added Charamelo.