Friday 28th October 2022 – Mike Smith
Thursday evening’s plenary session at the town hall in Xàbia was once again attended by representatives of the local police force who have long been demanding improvements in work conditions. And one of them took to the floor at the end of the meeting to explain why they were demonstrating outside, some three months after their last attempt to force the council to consider their demands.
For some time, the local police force has been demanding an increase in the number in staffing levels and improvement in salary conditions in order to stem the departure of officers to other municipalities where better conditions are offered.
It was explained that several meetings were held with the company charged with drafting the conditions of the RPT (Job Descriptions), a complex process which involved making themselves understood and ultimately reaching what seemed to be an agreement that dignified the current precarious situation that their officers find themselves in. However, nothing, including the agreed conditions, was included in the final report which has forced the local police to “feel cheated”.
The document should have been signed and approved this week but representatives from the local police were able to review it and discover that the company had reached an agreement with the local council and not with the local police directly. In addition, there were discrepancies over the issue of overtime, which made the officers feel like they were “being made fun of” which forced them to react once again.
The fact that the report had to be redrafted against the clock meant that it didn’t arrive in time for approval and forced the local police officers to continue their work-to-rule stance and not take on extra services until the issue has been resolved. They explained that they are going through an “unpleasant” situation that need to be unblocked “urgently” and that it is the hands of the local government. “The residents of Xàbia don’t deserve this,” said their representative. “But neither do we, the ones who patrol the streets on a daily basis”.
The councillor responsible for Public Safety, Juan Ortolà, wanted to separate the malpractice of the company in charge of drafting the RPT – “it’s a mistake that has been made” – from the desire of the town hall to improve the employment situation of the local police. “It is not through lack of money,” he said, to which the representative replied: “this this company is deceiving us all”.
Mayor José Chulvi asked if the document that had been registered with the town hall that very morning was the optimal version for the local police, to which the representative replied that it was. This, the mayor was able to detail the bureaucratic process of administrative review and approval that now had to be followed, to which the representative replied: “a process that could have been concluded this week if the work of months had been carried out correctly”.