Lorenzo Amor, the president of the National Federation of Self-Employed Workers Associations, said on Wednesday that there are a million self-employed in Spain who are "walking the tightrope" and, if they are pushed just a little, "will fall".
He explained that around 90% of the self-employed have been "activated" since lockdown but that the remainder (some 280,000) have not restarted and "still don't know when they will be able to". In addition, because of local outbreaks, there are many self-employed who are having to cease activity again. "Self-employed workers depend on consumption, so if a sector fails, this affects the whole chain (including the self-employed)."
Amor stated that it is "shameful" that the contributions of the self-employed who have been forced to cease activity have not been suspended. "If they cannot work, why do they have to contribute? It is regrettable that an extraordinary provision of cessation of activity due to force majeure has not been applied to those self-employed who are unable to work.
"We agree and always will that health comes first. But an extraordinary health situation has to be accompanied by extraordinary financial measures, and I don't believe that this is now the case, as it was in March."
Regarding the extraordinary benefits for cessation of activity, Amor indicated that the first reached some 50% of the self-employed and was "a success". But the one which followed, at the start of April, has been "a failure", as it has reached only 120,000 self-employed workers.
There needs to be a national emergency plan for the self-employed. "The current context has nothing to do with how things were in June or even the first half of July. ERTE must be extended until April," argued Amor, believing that the furlough should function until the start of the 2021 tourism season.
"Either the government reacts and does not wait until help from Europe arrives or it will see a trail of the self-employed and businesses falling by the wayside this autumn."