The meeting at government HQ on Wednesday. | Pere Bota

On Wednesday, the three Balearic hotel federations as well as restaurant associations, the Abone nightlife businesses association and the two main unions - the CCOO and the UGT - all signed the new collective bargaining agreement, by which salaries will rise by 8.5% over two years from this April.

The signing was at the Balearic government's Consolat de Mar headquarters, the ministry for the economic model, tourism and employment having been closely involved with discussions over the past fortnight. The agreement is being described as "historic", as this is the first time that all parties have actually signed up to the same agreement; the hoteliers in Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera haven't in the past.

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Provision has been made in the agreement for quality of employment, meaning not just pay but also workloads and training. The CCOO union felt particularly aggrieved when this was not included in what was presented as an agreement some weeks ago following a meeting at the ministry to which it had not been invited.

Under the agreement, a different focus will be applied to the restaurant and nightlife sectors. As it is, the pay scales for these sectors have equated to the lowest of three for the hotels (based on star classification).

The Balearic government has been very keen to ensure agreement ahead of the elections and the main tourism season. Unions had been threatening possible industrial action, their pay demands having been reduced significantly. The settlement, in effect, is a compromise between those demands and what the employers had initially proposed.