The TSJC Canary Islands’ High Court of Justice has ruled that increase in salaries granted by the municipality of Mogán, to eight of its employees in 2022, were illegal. The Contencioso-Administrative Court has, once again, criticised the “arbitrary” nature of the town council led by La Alcaldesa Onalia Bueno, mayor of Mogán, who plans this year to run for re-election under the name of her new party, Juntos por Mogán, directly aligned with the right of centre regionalists, Coalición Canaria (CC). This is not the first time that the TSJC has censured such actions by the local council, after similar questions were raised both in 2015 and 2019.

This latest ruling, dated November 23rd but only recently made public, explicitly criticises the use of these salary increases as “a form of reward” given to certain employees, simply at the suggestion of governing council members. The high court emphasised that these increases are supposed to be based on “objective” and “rational” criteria related to the job, and not simply the person being in favour. The court’s decision partially supports a complaint filed by the Independent Union of Civil Servants and Officials (CSIF) and officially cancels the increases due to the lack of any effective negotiation process with the representatives of the workers.

The ruling clarified that the municipality’s evaluation of these jobs, to incorporate these salary increases, was just for appearances. The court stated that “all they did was fill out a form with the legally required criteria” to grant the increases. The court stated that “it is not enough to fill out forms and boxes” and emphasised that these salary increases must value the singularities of the jobs and not the people who occupy them.

The Chamber stated that the assessment of the jobs performed by the Town Hall to justify these bonuses was superficial, as “all it has actually done is fill out a form with legally required criteria” to assign them. Each of the criteria (technical difficulty, responsibility, dangerousness, etc.) was rated as high, medium, or low and based on that classification, a certain amount was determined. “The rating seems correct, but its application is arbitrary,” the judicial resolution states. 

This latest ruling cites the difference in the amount granted to three administrative assistants, a school principal, and a management technician based on “technical difficulty”, the assessments divided into three categories (specialisation, updating of knowledge, and qualifications). The administrative assistants received salary increases of €2,500 based on “a low and two medium” scores under these criteria, while the school principal and the management technician received €2,000 and €1,400, respectively, despite having been rated higher in all three categories.

Thirteen individuals, once again including the controversial La Alcaldesa, O.Bueno, are being investigated for the salary increases, which were handed out to officials known to be affiliated with her CIUCA party in Mogán. The mayor has also been fined for not complying with a previous court ruling that cancelled salary increases for a local police officer. 

Last year at least one member of the Policia Local, Carlos JHR, was promoted despite having been convicted, along with another officer currently serving time for gender violence, for the violent attack, and torture, on a Senegalese migrant back in 2011 who had committed no crime, and appears to have simply been selling necklaces in Puerto Rico Shopping Centre.  Despite all of this proven to be true in a court of law, and a sentence of 7 years handed down along with 10 years exclusion from public positions, that police officer is still in post, promoted and appealing the decision, 12 years after the attack and nearly two years after his conviction.  This is how it is in Mogán.

In conclusion, the Superior Court of Justice of the Canary Islands has once again declared the actions of the municipal government of Mogán to be arbitrary and illegal. The court emphasised that the salary increases must be based on objective criteria related to the job and not the person and must be the result of an effective negotiation process with the representatives of the workers. 

The Controversial-Administrative Chamber have once again criticised the “arbitrary” actions of the Mogán Town Hall led by Onalia Bueno, who they say assigned specific bonuses without proper negotiation with the workers’ representatives. This is not the first time that the high court in the Canary Islands has spoken out about these kinds of salary increases, awarded by the south-western municipality since Bueno took office, having previously spoken out and reversed salary increases in 2015 and 2019.

The High Court of Justice of the Canary Islands reprimanded the use of these bonuses as “a kind of prize” given to certain workers on the proposal of government council members and reminded them that assigning a pay rise must respond to “objective” and “reasonable” criteria linked to the position, not the person. The judicial resolution partially approves a complaint submitted by the Independent and Officials Union (CSIF) and annuls these salary increases due to the absence of an effective negotiation process with the workers’ representatives.