The election year, especially for presidents seeking re-election to office, is always fruitful for pressures for salary adjustments. With the popularity of President Jair Bolsonaro skating, distributing raises to servers could even help to reverse this data, were it not for the critical situation of the Brazilian economy. With at least 40 civil service categories asking for an increase of up to 2w8% in earnings (which would mean an increase in the payroll of around R$100 billion in a year), the Minister of Economy, Paulo Guedes, even tried to enter another struggle and resist change. The problem is that, now, that decision will not be up to him. Behind the negotiation is an entity much less rational than the commander of Brazilian economic policy and much more relevant today for the government: Centrão. At the beginning of the year, the political group received from the government the key to the Union safe to delimit and direct expenses through the Civil House and the head of the Ministry, Ciro Nogueira.
BRL 400,000 was the salary paid to 18 prosecutors in December, with accumulated benefits
In the corridors of the Planalto, Ciro is already called, along with the president of the Chamber, Arthur Lira (PP-AL), Bolsonaro’s prime minister, since he took away from Paulo Guedes the absolute control of the resources administered by the central government. In practice, Guedes still outlines how the money can be used, but the final approval is in charge of one of the most influential names of Centrão in Congress. “Guedes is not satisfied with the recent decisions, and has openly complained to advisors, but this political decision was necessary for the government to be able to better dialogue with Congress,” said a Centrão congressman close to Ciro Nogueira, on condition of anonymity.
And the first big test of this carte blanche by Centrão in government finances came with pressure from federal servants. In the Budget stipulated by the Ministry of Economy, there was a reserve of BRL 1.7 billion to fund the readjustment only for members of the Federal Police, the Federal Highway Police and the National Penitentiary Department (Depen), an important part of Bolsonaro’s allied base. Faced with this selective increase forecast, the other categories organized themselves for demonstrations in front of the Central Bank, the Ministry of Economy and Congress.
25% was the loss in income of eight out of 10 servers, between 2019 and 2022, says Fonacate
And the main target of the protesters was Minister Paulo Guedes. The president of the Permanent National Forum for Typical State Careers (Fonacate), which brings together 37 elite categories of the civil service, Rudinei Marques, raised a speech by Guedes in which he calls public servants parasites. “He says he’s going to put a grenade in the servers’ pockets. Well, now it’s time for the federal public service to put the grenade back in his pocket.” According to him, the categories represented have not increased for five years. “It’s been three years of attacks and assaults on public servants. It is time to say enough is enough.” According to the entity’s calculations, 80% of civil servants have lost 25% of their purchasing power since 2019 due to inflationary pressure. What he doesn’t say, or prefers not to say, is that the entire country and not just the civil service is experiencing the same scenario.
ATTORNEYS While the less affluent civil servants organize to put pressure on the government, the group of civil servants at the top of the pyramid did well. After signing an act that required full payment of benefits that had not been paid to prosecutors in recent years, 18 of them received around R$400,000 in salary in December. According to data from Portal Transparência, another 53 received more than BRL 300,000, 155 received more than BRL 200,000 and 469 earned more than BRL 100,000. The figure involves payment of licenses, allowances, court decisions, equalization of salaries and benefits, all adjusted for inflation. The PGR, by Augusto Aras, argues that the payments are legal. They may be legal, but they are immoral in Brazil today. “Part of these debts is old and was recognized by court decisions, which determined the respective payment. The amounts are paid off when there is budget surplus.”
“For three years, minister paulo guedes has attacked and attacked public servants. It’s time to say enough” Rudinei Marques, President of Fonocate.
This check for prosecutors should also pour gasoline on demonstrations in other equally wealthy categories that were not covered, such as tax auditors from the Federal Revenue and Labor, Union lawyers and Central Bank analysts. One more figure to be accommodated in the 2022 Budget, which will also house the largest electoral fund (from R$4.9 billion to R$5.7 billion); up to R$30 billion in parliamentary amendments and whatever else is deemed “necessary” for the election.
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