The social dialogue working party meeting on Thursday. | Govern Illes Balears

The Balearic government is to ask Madrid for flexibility in ERTE arrangements so that these apply to "work centres", e.g. specific hotels, and not to companies. The minister for the economic model, tourism and employment, Iago Negueruela, said on Thursday that the current approach, which is company-wide, creates "more of a disincentive than an incentive" because of the loss of social security bonuses were hotels to open before the end of June. If a company has several work centres, such as a hotel chain, and decides to open one and take employees off ERTE terms, the social security bonuses are cut to such an extent that opening one establishment doesn't make up for this.

The government is also urging Madrid to extend ERTE protection until the end of the year, and it received support for this at Thursday's meeting of the social dialogue working party.

The meeting highlighted the need for ERTE protection to be maintained for 'fijo discontinuo' employees and came up with a proposal whereby there will be social security bonuses for all employees, whether under ERTE or not, which are linked to regional productivity. This would be based on official indicators, such as the number of tourists and the level of tourist spending. As these rise, so the bonuses would go down. Negueruela said that this would be a system that would encourage regional productivity and wouldn't focus attention on specific companies.

The general secretary of the CCOO union in the Balearics, José Luis García, noted that ERTE has been shown to be the most appropriate means of protecting workers. The president of the Pimem small to medium-sized businesses federation, Jordi Mora, added that ERTE should be extended to Easter 2021. Much of the tourism sector will be unable to open this year. "It will be sleeping until 2021. Let's not destroy companies."

The proposal for making ERTE applicable to single establishments only was made in advance of the government's expectation of an imminent approval from Madrid for tourist test flights and stays this month. A sticking point with this test plan is the ERTE regulation that applies to companies as a whole.