«There are people who make you cry when you tell them that they have to make an appointment again»

The Social Security office on Avinguda de Roma is a constant trickle of citizens in the same situation: they can't get time to be attended. A security agent kindly reminds them what they already know: that they need an appointment to be able to enter and they can only get it by phone or online. She recommends the hours at which they have to try “but without stopping; looped huh? », she tells them.

One of those who has attended in person, given that she cannot get an appointment "in any way" is Gisela, who cannot request maternity benefit. She did the process online, with the digital certificate, but was notified that there was a problem without specifying what it was. «There is no way to access anyone who attends to you, it is like a wall. And here I am, with a 20-day-old baby up and down », she laments.

People who don't speak the language and who have been leaving money unsuccessfully in call shops trying to find an appointment or people, especially older people, who don't master technology also come over.

In short, the worst of the pandemic is over, but access to some services remains restricted. Manuel Reyes, representative of the UGT union of the General State Administration in Tarragona, explains that this way of working that came with the Covid has been perpetuated for a single reason: personal fault. In fact, this union, together with CCOO and CSIF, is planning demonstrations at the INSS offices this month.

In the demarcation of Tarragona, Reyes points out, there are 422 jobs, of which 122 remain unfilled. The cases of the Treasury are striking, for example, with 192 positions, of which there are 64 vacancies, or that of IT management, where 5 of 12 positions remain to be filled.

This is not counting the workers who have been expressly hired to process the Minimum Vital Income, some fifty who, he says, "can't cope" so the process is taking about six months.

The lack of troops has forced, for example, to close offices such as Mora d'Ebre, whose users are now served in Reus.

He acknowledges that the lack of personnel has been dragging on since the time of Minister Cristóbal Montoro's cuts and also affects other organizations such as SEPE, Traffic, or immigration offices with the consequent delay in serving citizens.

A Social Security Treasury worker explains that when citizens finally reach the officials they are angry and frustrated. “The worst thing is when a document is missing. There are people who make you cry when you tell them that they have to make an appointment again. Think that many times we are talking about vulnerable people who depend on these procedures to eat », he relates.

He also relates that the work has been redistributed between the different provinces so that, for example, a retirement of someone from Tarragona could be processed from Vizcaya. This relocation of the files, he assures him, complicates the procedures.

The age of current workers must also be taken into account "in the next five years almost 50% of the workforce will retire, the largest range of workers is from 59 to 65 years old," says Reyes. And to this we must add that many troops leave when there are transfer contests. In UGT, in fact, they do courses to prepare the oppositions to citizens of the province so that, if they get the places, they stay in the territory.

Incorporation of troops

Consulted in this regard, from the INSS they point out that they plan to incorporate more than 1,600 workers throughout Spain to improve citizen care, of which about 40 are going to join the province of Tarragona. Some positions will be filled in the first instance by interim officials whose hiring will be processed immediately.

They point out that this step represents "an increase in personnel of 8.43% in the scope of the National Institute of Social Security and the General Treasury of Social Security and represents the first net increase in the Social Security workforce in the last 10 years . The measure is part of the shock plan launched by Social Security to alleviate the shortage of personnel as a result of the cutback measures adopted during the financial crisis.

They point out that "the plan contemplates two more important milestones this year: the macro contest for the provision of vacant jobs, which will mean the incorporation of hundreds more troops, and the redesign of the selection processes, which seeks to drastically reduce the Management times necessary for the recruitment of new officials.

The workforce has grown and it is estimated that

50% will retire in the next five years

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