Everyone knows there is too much temporary working. | LAURA L. MARIN

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The main unions in the Balearics estimate that the Spanish government’s labour reform will result in 13,000 casual workers being placed on permanent or ‘fijo discontinuo’ contracts.

This will be very welcome in terms of addressing job insecurity, albeit for only a limited part of the workforce, the unions stating that there is too much temporary working in an economy as seasonal as the Balearic economy is.

Everyone knows there is too much temporary working, and each month’s employment figures confirm this. The Balearic government and now the Spanish government have rightly sought to reduce it, but there is only so much that can be done.

The president of the Confederation of Balearic Business Associations, Carmen Planas, says that seasonality is a “fundamental characteristic” of the economy. She is absolutely right. Moreover, and whether people like it or not, it will remain a fundamental characteristic.

The very existence of fijo discontinuo is a reflection of this, an argument being that this type of contract can in fact act as a disincentive to operate all-year round. Perhaps, but then it does give employees a degree of security and access to benefit that would otherwise be denied.

Reforming the labour market in itself will not alter the nature of seasonality, a fact of economic life that has been linked to tourism ever since the arrival of mass tourism some sixty years ago. A genuine twelve-month economy would be lovely but, and for reasons stated time and time again, it will always be elusive.