Tuesday's meeting to discuss the hospitality industry pay increase.

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The 3.5% pay increase for the general hospitality sector that was due to have come into effect on April 1 has been postponed for two months.

This agreement was reached at a meeting on Tuesday that was called by the Balearic minister for the economic model, tourism and employment, Iago Negueruela, and which was attended by business and union representatives. The pay increase, part of a four-year deal that started in 2018, applies to hotels, bars and restaurants and nightlife. It was postponed for a year in 2020, but unions had been demanding that it should now be applied.

The two-month postponement to the end of May is not arbitrary in that this coincides with the current deadline for the ERTE furlough scheme to end. Although the Spanish government has issued an assurance that there will be a further extension,Negueruela noted on Tuesday that "we will have to see how this protection framework will look".

The minister welcomed the "responsibility" of both business associations and unions in reaching yesterday's agreement. "Dialogue and consensus avoid conflict in a situation like the current one."

Negueruela stressed that the common objective of all parties is to be able to reactivate activity, which is currently at a minimum, with bar and restaurant interiors closed and only some eleven per cent of hotels open. The president of the restaurants association within the Confederation of Balearic Business Association, Alfonso Robledo, observed that "this is not the time to increase salaries". He hoped that the scenario will be different by June. There will have been far more vaccination and "we will be able to have a good tourism season".

The president of the Mallorca Hoteliers Federation, Maria Frontera, appreciated the "conciliatory tone" of the meeting and stressed that efforts must now be made for reactivation. "We have to keep jobs and businesses."

Nevertheless, representatives from the CCOO and UGT union made it clear that they will reject any further proposal to postpone the salary increase beyond June.