IMMIGRANTS working in the Balearics earn on average some forty percent less than “locals” who are doing the same work.
According to a recent report produced by Eva Cerdeiriña, Social Policy secretary of the Workers Commission (CCOO) and head of the Foreigners Information Centre, immigrants also work longer hours in bottom-of-the-ladder jobs without any of their particular needs and claims being attended to. Details of numbers of foreign workers in the Islands who were registered with Spanish Social Security in 2005 officially came to light at the end of last week. In this category, there has been a 33.5 percent increase in the Balearics with 58'810 foreign workers now on the books, largely thanks to a central government amnesty last year which gave illegal immigrants a period of grace within which to get their papers in order. The Ministry for Employment and Social Affairs said the result revealed a 45 percent increase in the number of foreigners from outside the European Union as being resident and working. In spite of this annual growth, the Balearics have lost more than 23'000 foreign workers during the last four months of 2005 after reaching an all-time record of 81'215 at the end of July during the height of the holiday season. The falling-off in numbers has had a direct impact on the tourist industry, a sector which now has 16'000 foreign workers less. Eva Cerdeiriña said that during 2005 and this year to date, 28 legal complaints have been lodged with judicial authorities over “irregularities” in the contracting of foreign labour. The contruction and hostelry sectors accounted for half of these cases, “although more are coming to light now,” Cerdeiriña said, “related to old people's homes and domestic service.” She advised that even if foreign workers are employed having signed a standard contract but are finding they are having to tolerate unacceptable circumstances in their professional lives, they should come forward with all relevant documentation and witness recommendations if they wish their case to be assessed by the Works Inspection Board. Of particular concern is the construction industry with its high accident rate.


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