Finance minister Rosario Sánchez (right) with her predecessor, Catalina Cladera. | Jaume Morey

The regional government's personnel costs will this year be 821.5 million euros, a figure which has risen by almost a third since 2015. In one department, the IB-Salut health service, for which personnel spending is identified separately, the cost is 844.1 million; in 2015 it was 627.5 million.

The reasons for this increase are higher salaries (up some 12% since 2015) and recruitment - there are more employees than five years ago. In addition, there is the so-called professional career bonus, which totals 120 million euros per annum.

The overall improvement in salaries provides the context to government decisions regarding public service employee for this year. The STEI teachers union believes that the government is acting in bad faith as it had agreed to there being an increase in 2020 pay. This agreement would add another 40 million euros to the personnel cost bill.

The government is also faced with an issue regarding payment totalling 60 million euros for interim personnel. Various rulings have established that they are also entitled to the professional career bonus. If this amount were to apply along with the 40 million, then the total personnel cost would rise to 921 million euros.