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Madrid invokes Article 155, sacks staff of Catalonia’s offices abroad

Catalan Foreign Ministry “considered” possibility of new assignments, but most staff are to lose their jobs despite being on permanent contracts

The Catalan News Agency (CNA) has learnt that the Spanish government will be laying off Catalonia’s public employees working in the Catalan government’s offices abroad. Staff working in the Paris, London, Berlin, Lisbon, Vienna, Washington, Copenhagen and Rome offices are to be made redundant, even though most of them had been recruited through an open application process and had a permanent contract in accordance with local legislation (French, British or Italian).

In a letter addressed to the Generalitat’s representation offices abroad, Foreign Affairs Secretary Aleix Villatoro informed staff that their “contract has been terminated”. Even though these staff are not civil servants, they are public employees and, so far, they are the only low-ranking Catalan government personnel to lose their jobs after the Spanish authorities imposed Madrid’s direct rule on Catalonia via Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution.

CNA reports that Spain’s Foreign Ministry allowed the Catalan government staff to go back to work on November 9 in order to perform “administrative and routine duties”, but never to hold “any institutional events”, as the Catalan government’s offices abroad have been formally “closed down”.

Catalonia’s Foreign Ministry had advised them that they would “consider” assigning them to other government bodies within their region and asked staff about their individual preference. Eventually this came to nothing, though, and all staff will be dismissed.

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