Vatican faces wage protest by employees
Vatican workers have complained to Pope Francis about work inequalities, low morale and wage cuts as the world’s smallest city-state is sucked into the global debate over the future of work sparked by the crisis in the world. Covid-19.
In an open letter to the head of the Catholic Church, Vatican employees said the Holy See’s decision to cut workers’ wages during the pandemic had been unfair and perpetuated an “exclusive, anti-meritocratic and deterrent”.
This year, Pope Francis issued a decree that the Vatican would cut the salaries of cardinals by 10 percent and cut the salaries of other staff by 3 to 8 percent, in order to cope with a growing budget deficit caused by a collapse in income during the pandemic.
“According to the most basic theories of work psychology, these strategies not only pay off in the long run, in terms of motivation, personal satisfaction and production, but they explode in terms of performance,” the employees wrote. from the Vatican in an unsigned letter. published in several Italian media.
The Vatican declined to comment on the letter. An official confirmed that he had circulated to several offices of the Holy See, but said the number of signatory employees was not clear. The Vatican, which has a permanent population of less than 1,000, had a total of 4,618 employees in 2019, according to its state media.
The letter complained that the pandemic had increased the pressure at work when many did not have the option to work remotely, and said there was “great bitterness” that the Vatican had yet to create a service human resources.
Employees also said the Holy See’s austerity campaign was particularly upsetting, as Vatican workers could not take advantage of the perks they would get in private companies, including “productivity bonuses, promotions based on the objectives achieved, selection systems based on merit and professional growth ”.
The decision to cut the Pope’s wages had an “honorable purpose” of safeguarding existing jobs, the letter said, but added that staff were “bitter” that they had not been consulted on the decision and complained that some employees were suffering more. that others. They also requested a meeting with Pope Francis to discuss the situation.
This year, Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves, the Vatican’s top economic official, said his spending this year will be “the lowest in the recent history of the Holy See,” as the closure of its museums during the lockdown measures and a drop in donations put a damper on its finances.
The Vatican has said it expects its total revenue to drop 30% this year to € 213 million from 2019, the year before the Covid-19 pandemic hit Europe, and to post a deficit of 49.7 million euros for 2021 against 11 million euros. deficit in 2019.
To bridge the gap, he said he would use money from his reserves, the exact size of which is unknown and encompasses vast real estate holdings around the world and other investments controlled by APSA, its sovereign wealth manager.