Building workers brought into the Balearics provide cheaper labour. | DE


Building workers employed by companies outside the Balearics who come to the islands are paid up to 30% less than Balearic workers. This is because they are paid in accordance with industry agreements in other regions. These typically provide for lower wages than in the Balearics. The general secretary of the UGT union's builders' federation, Sonia Saavedra, says that this is illegal. Companies should pay what has been agreed in regions where they work.

One of the regions which "exports" workers to the Balearics is Murcia. The agreement there sets out a basic daily rate of 28.34 euros for building labourers. This is 25% less than in the Balearics, where it it is 37.69 euros. The differential is higher (34%) for workers with greater qualification: 31 euros versus 47.01 euros.

Although the majority of building workers who come to the Balearics are from the mainland, some companies are bringing in workers from African or Asian countries. It is often the case that these workers are not signed on with social security.

Saavedra argues that there should be more inspections to check on potential irregularities. She acknowledges that there are some difficulties with this. Some businesses are itinerant, get work done quickly and then move on, making them hard to track.

A solution needs to be found, though, and she advocates a meeting between unions and the builders' association as well as government involvement in order to find one.