Spain's employment minister, Yolanda Díaz. | Efe

On Friday next week, the so-called social dialogue table in the Balearics will reconvene. A gathering of government, business and union representatives, this working party has held previous meetings to consider responses to the impact of the pandemic. Next week, the members of this working party will be joined by the national minister for employment, Yolanda Díaz, and topping the agenda will be ERTE.

Díaz said on Thursday that she believes that there will be an extension to the ERTE furlough scheme, which is currently due to finish at the end of September. She added that the agreement will not, however, be taken next Friday.

Nevertheless, the Balearic government, which has repeatedly called for an extension, has interpreted the minister's decision to attend next week's meeting in Palma as an indication that the Spanish government recognises the economic and employment situation in the Balearics. A week ago, a regional government statement said that the meeting "will undoubtedly serve to focus on the specifics of the Balearic labour market, which is characterised by a high number of employees with 'fijo discontinuo' contracts".

While Madrid has indicated that there will be an extension, there has been no hint as to how long it might be. In the Balearics, there is a great deal of pressure for an extension, for the tourism sector in particular, to last until Easter next year, when it is hoped that tourism will be back on the road to recovery. Díaz asked on Thursday: "If the tool (ERTE) works well, why would we set deadlines?". The important thing is, she insisted, that the Spanish government "will not let anyone fall".