Authorised PCR testing centres in the Balearics have been busy with workers wanting to confirm whether or not they are infected by the coronavirus.  | Gemma Andreu

The employers' associations CAEB and PIMEM have seen an increase in the number of employees needing to take sick leave in Balearic companies due to the impact of the pandemic and the trade unions CCOO and UGT, for their part, say that the remaining employees are forced to take on extra workloads in these circumstances.

The president of CAEB, Carmen Planas, said yesterday: "The situation is critical and especially affects small and medium enterprises of the Islands that are the ones with the tightest workforce, as they are difficult to replace in order to maintain productive activity. This has means that workers who are on vacation are being called to suspend them temporarily and rejoin".

Jordi Mora, president of PIMEM, stated that the situation is very worrying: "Never before have companies had so many sick leaves in such a short period of time, which prevents them from operating normally and affects their productivity. Contagions continue to increase and this, as in the case of Ibiza, has already forced companies to close due to lack of workers because there are no trained substitutes".

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Both employers point out that the period of confinement for close contacts without symptoms has to be reduced even more "because otherwise it will be impossible to reactivate production and this will have a negative impact on the viability of companies". Planas valued positively the reduction of the quarantine "because it is being seen that the contagions are less virulent in those who have complete vaccinations". For this reason, he recommended that the administrations should focus on this aspect in order to minimise the damage.

The unions CCOO and UGT are concerned for the impact of the pandemic on the staff, since in their opinion "they have to assume extra workloads", according to the general secretary of CCOO of the Balearic Islands, José Luis García. The general secretary of the UGT Federation, José García, agreed yesterday with CCOO that now "the big problem of companies affected by sick leave caused by the pandemic, is that the workloads for those who are active are increasing". For the UGT this situation affects the entire productive fabric of the Balearic Islands "but mainly to large supermarkets, small and medium trade, hotels and restaurants," said Garcia.

Employers and unions emphasise that the Balearic economy has never before faced a similar crisis and with so many uncertainties, although they point out that the health issue is a priority. "It is difficult at the moment to quantify the number of workers who are on sick leave due to the COVID, but the situation is very complex because of the negative effects that may arise in the short and medium term in Mallorca and the rest of the islands," added Mora. The president of CAEB Restoration, Alfonso Robledo, said, for his part, that this situation "is widespread in our sector, which has a negative impact on a situation marked by the pandemic and on the evolution of the companies themselves in the coming year".