From Sunday there won't be a lifeguard while the flag will be orange. | Jonas Martiny


Lifeguards on Palma beaches will start an indefinite strike on Sunday, having failed to reach an agreement with their employers at the arbitration tribunal. They say that they will not comply with the 100% minimum service level required by the Balearic government's emergencies directorate and accuse Palma town hall of not fulfilling an agreement in respect of improvements to salaries and working conditions.

According to representatives for the lifeguards, the town hall had promised to facilitate these improvements and to include them in new specifications for the contract for the service, which is due to be signed off in August. Moreover, the town hall had said that it would assume the cost of increased salaries.

They add that they were "very disappointed" with the town hall, which had sent a legal adviser to the tribunal "in order to intimidate us" but who had not even met them - "only the representatives of the company." The lifeguards have requested a meeting with Mayor José Hila, as they believe that he is "most responsible" for the situation.

Meanwhile, the company with the concession for Palma's lifeguards, Emergencies Setmil, has accused the town hall of having failed to comply with a promise to make an exceptional payment to meet the cost of the increased salaries; this is estimated to be around 30,000 euros per month. The company says that in April it requested an amendment of the contract to this effect. A few days ago, it was notified that there wouldn't be an amendment. The company stresses that it cannot assume the increased cost on its own.

The town hall maintains that at no time has it committed to assuming the extra cost. All that it promised was that the agreed improvements would be included in the new contract, which is being processed with "maximum speed" so that it can be settled in August.

If the strike goes ahead, posters will be put up notifying the public of the situation and orange flags will be raised to indicate that lifeguards are absent. The local police will also be fully informed of the situation.