Spanish civil servant skips work for six years, collects salary

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A Spanish civil servant who failed to turn up for work for six years was only discovered when he was considered for an award for loyal service.

Former public employee Joaquín García, who was still collecting his annual €37,000 ($58,000) salary, was on Friday ordered by Cádiz city hall to pay €27,000 in compensation.

He had been sent by the city council to oversee the building of a waste-water treatment plant in the south-western city, but records show that Mr García had not turned up for work for six years.

Mr García responded by filing his own complaint with city hall, demanding that councillor José Blas Fernández, in charge of personnel at the time, be disciplined for negligence for failing to notice his absence.

Mr García argued that if it is true that he was absent during all of that time, "it was up to Mr Fernández to make sure that this did not happen".

Mr Fernández took legal action against Mr García in 2010 after seeing his name on a list of employees due to receive awards for long service.


Recalling that he had been sent to a post at Cádiz Water under an agreement between the council and the public utility in 1998, Mr Fernández visited the waterworks to find that Mr García's colleagues had no idea where he was.

"They assumed he had been sent back to city hall," Mr Fernández said. An investigation revealed that the phantom civil servant had not clocked in to work for six years from 2004.

Mr García claimed he had occasionally visited his office but that there was nothing for him to do. He said he was the victim of workplace bullying because of disagreements between the council and the water company.

The now-retired civil servant has asked the mayor of Cádiz, José María González, of the left-wing Podemos party, to be excused having to pay the damages.

The median salary in Spain is just over €19,000, while unemployment in Cádiz is above the national average at 34 per cent.

Telegraph, London