UNION leaders warned yesterday that the Balearics is facing a summer of discontent with the hostelry sector threatening widespread industrial action.
Summer only officially began 48 hours ago, but already the hostelry sector is prepared to throw a spanner in the works of the Balearics' principal economic engine - tourism, at the busiest time of the year. The main UGT General Workers Union and the CC.OO workers commission called a crisis meeting yesterday to discuss what action to take unless management come up with a much better pay package by the end of the month. At the moment, the hostelry sector employees, the best part of 80'000 of them, have been offered a two percent pay rise. But unions want a pay rise linked to inflation, somewhere in the region of 6.5 percent. Both sides of the dispute will be meeting tomorrow to try and broker a satisfactory deal. Hostelry federation secretary Antonio Copete said yesterday that unless an offer in the region of 6.45 percent is made before the end of the month, industrial action will be taken. Copete said yesterday that in the past, the unions and the federation have always been careful to make sure that industrial action caused the least damage possible to the Balearics' image as a tourist destination. “But this year we're being left with no option because it appears they (the management) do not care about the Balearics' reputation. “We are on the verge of protest action,” he admitted.
Unions and management will meet on Friday and, if necessary, another meeting will be held before the end-of-June deadline.
Nevertheless, at yesterday morning's union meeting it was agreed that, should industrial action go ahead, protests will start at the end of July, on the eve of peak season. Apart from a “sensible” pay rise, the unions also want negotiations with the management every two years, as opposed to four, as well better working conditions for part-time employees. The Majorcan Hotel federation tried to play down the threats yesterday claiming they are “part of the annual rigmarole” of discussing a new agreement.
Key hotel bosses will meet today to draw up a “global” proposal aimed at bringing an end to the dispute and provide the unions with an acceptable offer.