Joan Collins
THE Balearic Confederation of Business Associations (CAEB) will next week decide whether they will adopt the decision of their national counterpart (CEOE) to ask Spanish companies to ban smoking breaks as these could be seen as discriminatory by non smoking workers. Although the decision has not been made yet, the President of the CAEB, Josep Oliver, yesterday said that smoking breaks are not included in any negotiated agreements with the unions, but the unions asked for them after the implementation of the national anti-tobacco law which bans smoking in the workplace. “We cannot understand how we can put this into negotiated agreements” he said in a reference to the petition by the Workers Commission union (CCOO). This trade union has recently circulated a note to its company representatives telling them to include smoking breaks in their negotiations. For now the CAEB will pass on the information to its members “so that they can study the measures and take them into consideration” said Oliver. He commented that the final decision will be taken next week. The CEOE's document says that the smoking habits of employees addicted to tobacco “shouldn't alter the normal amount of working activity in the company”. In addition to this he underlined that, in cases where smoking breaks are allowed, “it could generate situations where smokers and non smokers are treated differently”. Further to this, the CEOE, presided by Jose Maria Cuevas, said that non smoking workers could feel they are being discriminated against and their rights ignored because they continue working while smokers area allowed to interrupt their working day and take a break to indulge their habit. In the circular, called “Note about the incidence of tobacco addiction in workplaces and health measures according to the law”, the CEOE insists that companies should not include smoking breaks in their negotiations with the unions.

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