THE Guardia Civil Traffic division have declared their intention to make January a month without sanctions if the pens down strike which the majority of their Balearic officers started on Monday, continues.
They are demanding improvements in pay and a fair distribution of productivity payments. The Guardia Civil are a military force and, as such, have no right to a traditional strike. However, as they have done in the past, they have other ways of expressing their opposition, such as by the action they are taking now.
According to the Guardia Civil's union (AUGC), the Traffic division's situation has deteriorated very rapidly. Its officers are complaining about the lack of equipment and staff, but the straw which broke the camel's back was the productivity payments, which are distributed every year at Christmas time.
On this occasion, according to members of the Traffic section, civil servants carrying out bureaucratic office tasks were rewarded, while the officers who are out on the streets were excluded. To quote just one example, there were cases where the productivity payment for a Guardia Civil captain's chauffeur came to more than a thousand euros, in comparison with one hundred for an ordinary driver. This situation is frankly untenable, say the AUGC.
According to the union, which represents 25'000 Guardia Civil officers throughout Spain, Some people only appear interested in the Guardia Civil being an agency for collecting money and others are only interested in keeping their privileges. So, from January 1 the majority of the Traffic division officers have opted for a veiled strike, also called pens down.
Sources said that this measure does not mean that they will turn a blind eye to traffic offences, but we will be taking a more relaxed attitude to imposing fines and other sanctions.
Drivers who commit offences will be stopped, but if the offence in not very serious then the driver will just be informed that he or she has committed an offence.
These measures will be applied at national level and, in the Balearics, their impact will be very significant. However, the official terminology of the AUGC does not mention a strike, just to a campaign of driver awareness. The aim of the Guardia Civil Traffic section will be, once more, to try to prevent accidents on the roads by making drivers aware of their responsibilities and duties, they say.
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