A protest on behalf of hotel chambermaids and their pay and conditions. | Miquel À. Cañellas


The Majorca Hoteliers Federation does not accept that there is a need to modify the tourism law in order that employment conditions influence hotel stars' ratings.

The government, as reported earlier this week, plans to amend the law and make ratings dependent upon so-called social clauses of employment. The federation's president, Inma Benito, says that amendment is not needed because of the collective bargaining agreement already in place. This contains salary increases of above the national average until 2021. The agreement, she adds, was signed by all parties, i.e. the hoteliers and the unions.

Benito adds that there are three levels of salary which already reflect hotels' ratings and categories. On contracts, she notes that there has been a further agreement for twenty years on the minimum number of employees who have permanent status (which includes "fijo discontinuo").

At present, establishments with more than 25 employees have 75% permanent staff. For those with eleven to 25, the requirement is 65%. Employment of agency temporary staff is limited to ten per cent of the total workforce.

The federation maintains that hotels in the Balearics have been pioneering in recognising the work of chamber maids. Their work and pay have been issues of some controversy, with parties on the left having highlighted them as a category of worker that is not well treated. According to the federation, though, they have been on the same wage scale as waiter or waitresses in bars and dining rooms.

Since the introduction of the 2012 tourism law, hotels that have been upgraded have employed more people and paid more in line with the agreement. Unions, however, say that thirty hotels were denounced last year for non-compliance with this.

Tourism minister Biel Barceló accepts that the great majority of hoteliers do abide by the agreement and by legislation. There are, though, who include "abuses" in their employment contracts, and so the government is determined to put an end to these.

Under the amended legislation greater emphasis will be placed on employment conditions when it comes to ratings' classification. Points for certain services will be reduced and added for the social clauses. Hotels will, in effect, have to employ more people than the agreement stipulates. There will have to be more qualified workers with better salaries who are directly employed and not provided through outsourcing arrangements.

The employment ministry is working alongside the tourism ministry in drawing up the new indicators. The minister, Iago Negueruela, says that a study is being made of clauses that do not clash with the collective bargaining agreement. He acknowledges that the agreement already contains a ratio of employees to number of beds, but reinforces Barceló's point that additional demands will be made of hoteliers.