The employment service negotiates with its workers on how to deal with reopening its network to the public. The delay in the payment of benefits and the lack of a protocol for the prevention of risks by contagion mean that there is still no date.

SEPE is considered an essential service within the Administration, although it has had to face an extraordinary situation in the last three months. In the entire period since March 16, it has kept its office network closed but at the same time it has multiplied its production. It has processed through teleworking, an avalanche of files corresponding to 3.2 million workers affected by temporary employment regulation (ERTE) files plus the dismissals of another 900,000, in addition to the 2.1 million benefits that were already processed and other subsidies.

The demand to resolve approximately six million cases with a staff of 7,000 workers has caused significant delays in the payment of benefits. 

The concern caused by the beneficiaries – which has led to episodes of harassment and insults – and the need to have a risk protocol to avoid contagions led SEPE workers yesterday to ask the agency to delay the opening of offices until the entire payment system is in order. Sources attending this meeting indicated that it is assumed that it will not open next week and that a specific date was not negotiated, not even next month.

The number of beneficiaries who have not received their benefits or have received them slowly is not precisely known. Since last April, the Ministry of Labour has been repeating that there is no problem other than the volume of files that has fallen on SEPE workers.

The College of Administrative Managers indicated yesterday that the figure could rise to 900,000. In this sense, the CSIF union highlighted yesterday that thousands of people affected by an ERTE and other circumstances are still pending receipt of the benefit, “despite repeated statements by the Minister of Labour in which it indicates that it has been resolved” The union points out that “this situation generates uncertainty, disappointment and, of course, vulnerability in this group of unemployed people, which is discomforting to SEPE workers, who are the ones who work daily in the face of adversity.

The protocol to reopen the network is complicated when the central administration offices are shared with the autonomous ones. In Catalonia, the CCOO Secretary of Labor, Ricard Bellera, pointed out that the union has transferred to SEPE in just one week up to 140 collective claims that affect more than 12,000 workers who are unpaid or who have only partially done so.

Only in Catalonia, has SEPE has admitted that the number of workers affected by an ERTE who have not yet been paid in Catalonia for not having the benefit recognized could reach 70,000 , reports Efe.

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