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Urko Aierbe (LAB): “We can have a large number of accredited workers and not be able to work in Basque”

  • Urko Aierbe is Euskera Secretary at LAB. He considers that the decree of euskaldunization of the public sector of the CAV, approved by the Basque Government on Thursday, is a missed opportunity to euskaldunizar the administration. He stresses that there have been setbacks from the initial draft of the Decree to what has now been approved, “we have no doubt that the decree is conditioned by judicial aggression”. However, the decree does not guarantee legal protection.
Kontseiluak, Bilbon, 2023ko uztailean egin zuen agerraldia, oldarraldi judizialaren aurkako manifestaziora deitzeko. Argazkia. Aritz Loiola /Foku.

22 February 2024 - 12:25
Last updated: 2024-02-23 07:28:49

In 2022, the Council, LAB and ELA proposed the euskaldunization of the Basque public sector. What assessment does LAB make of the decree in relation to it?

The main conclusion is that it is a missed opportunity to euskaldunify the administration. It does not respond to what the situation demands, nor to what the Basque administration requires, nor to the process of normalization of the Basque country. Nor do we face the challenges we face.

Is there progress in the decree?

There is progress, but it must be borne in mind that the previous one is 1997, it has been in force for 27 years, so there is some progress. These include the fact that the current decree will affect the entire public sector, since so far some areas were excluded. The new Decree will affect all public employees, around 140,000 workers.

However, although it has been extended to the entire public sphere, the Ertzaintza, the Justice and Osakidetza have been offered nine years to implement the measures of the Decree. There are areas that can speed up the process because they are more advanced or more likely, but some entities give them a nine-year deadline.

The Decree makes progress on 1997, but something else has happened from three or four years to the last version. LAB has noted with concern the evolution of the initial version to the last one: some of the initial mentions and measures have disappeared or become blurred.

In the initial drafts of the Decree appeared measures and mentions to prioritize the Basque, which have been eliminated in the last version. In fact, they have backed the courts into judicial aggression.

"The Vice-Ministry of Linguistic Policy explicitly stated that in the initial versions of the Decree priority could be given to Euskera, and these mentions have disappeared"

He says it was a missed opportunity.

Over these years knowledge of the Basque country has increased and new workers will be largely Euskaldunes. For not considering the evolution of knowledge in the Basque administration, or not proposing more daring measures, we do not value it positively. In particular, the decree also poses as a challenge to promote the use of Euskera as a working language, as well as to guarantee the service to the citizens in Euskera, of course. And in that challenge we share, but this goal is not reflected in bold and concrete measures. Only two examples: circuits in Euskera and personnel oriented training to be able to work in Euskera are not mentioned.

The decree contains new ways of accrediting the Basque level.

We have been concerned to open new avenues for crediting the Basque country. First, in recent years there has been less and less tension to advance in the Basque administration. More and more is happening: the staff with a proven linguistic profile are incorporated and not taught or unable to work in Basque. In 2012, the government of Patxi López [PSE] approved a decree that established that the performance of studies in Euskera would bring the linguistic profile. Not all students in model D reach sufficient level. Reality tells us that there is a group of workers who are not able to work in Basque.

In this distension environment, the so-called verification modes will be further extended. The examination of the offer of public employment in Euskera or through the display of the expression “reliable use of Euskera in the workplace” will be considered as an accredited Basque. How will it be measured that the worker works in Basque? What does it mean that you are able to work in Basque? Will these two new routes ensure the ability to work in Basque?

We can have a large number of accredited workers, but reality tells us that it is not true, that workers are not able to work in Basque. We are not against the use of new forms of verification, but action and monitoring must be taken.

"The decree can also be brought to trial, we have seen, anyone can resort to anything"

Another innovation is the asymmetry of linguistic profiles.

From now on, different oral and written linguistic profiles can be developed. It is true that the decree contains criteria and a procedure for its establishment, but it should be used in very justified situations and not generalized. Drivers, cleaners -- they say they think of unwritten professions. That being said, we do not see it badly, but let them be exceptions. Otherwise, it may be another slice to deepen the tension loss to which I have referred. You can open the door to low language profiles.

Is it conditioned by the aggression we have?

We have no doubt that it has conditioned. Let me remind you of the example I mentioned earlier: The VPL explicitly contained that in the initial versions of the decree [Vice-Ministry of Linguistic Policy] priority could be given to the Basque country, references that have disappeared. These words are being punished in the courts. That is the only explanation we have found to remove the mentions of prioritization of the Basque country.

Another example is the compulsory rate. It was not explained in the previous decree, but it was understood that, when determining the number of linguistic profiles, this index was the minimum and not the maximum that the Administration had to fulfil in the calls for employment. In recent judgments it is said that this index represents the maximum. That is the case of Uliazpi, for example. The new decree does not explicitly state that this index means ‘minimum’. In our view, the index should be of a minimum nature and should enable entities to increase the number of places with a linguistic profile above that index. This is clearly stated in the decree with regard to sentences.

The aggression will therefore continue.

That is another major criticism we make. We are now in full attack and the decree will be adopted. No effort is made to give legal support to the steps taken to use the administration. The decree can also be brought to trial, we have seen, anyone can resort to anything.


LAB Rating Note: The decree to be adopted by the Basque Government for the normalization of the use of Euskera in the public sector of the CAV has lost the opportunity to jump into the Euskaldunisation of the administration

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