The Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation (CEHAT) and the trade union centres Federación de Servicios de Comisiones Obreras (Servicios-CCOO) and Federación Estatal de Servicios, Movilidad y Consumo de la Unión General de Trabajadores (FeSMC-UGT) have submitted to the Spanish Government a set of common proposals to protect the tourist accommodation sector they represent.
Trade unions and the Confederation consider that the force majeure derived from the state of alarm, which has suspended production activity, will persist specifically in this sector once this period decreed by the State is lifted, since restrictions on mobility and transport will continue, not only in Spain but also internationally. This will mean that activity will take even longer to recover.
In view of this situation, in the letter they request the concurrence of this force majeure and in the current conditions at least for an initial period of 6 months, without prejudice to the fact that this period will be extended if the circumstances persist and after consulting the social agents of the Spanish tourist accommodation. Furthermore, it is understood that the Public Administration must take this circumstance into account when processing ERTE’s, with the effects of exemption from company Social Security contributions and specific protection due to unemployment for workers who see their contracts temporarily suspended or their working hours reduced.
Likewise, the social agents call on the State Executive to guarantee unemployment protection for workers in an ERTE situation, including discontinuous permanent contracts, by means of sufficient benefits and public aid, without requiring a shortage, and the replacement of benefits that could be consumed during the legal situation of temporary unemployment. In view of the amounts and ceilings of unemployment benefits, it is requested that workers affected by ERTE receive the full amount of the corresponding summer bonus on the date stipulated in their collective agreements. For their part, in order to mitigate the effects of ERTE on the immediate income of workers, it is agreed that companies will pay, on request, the advance of the above-mentioned full special payment before it expires.
The permanent discontinuous contract is a very present modality in some geographical areas of the country in the tourist accommodation sector, which is why they also need protection measures. Thus, the social agents signing this agreement commit themselves to ensure that the workers with this contractual modality will be called by the companies on the date that was initially foreseen and will later be included in the corresponding ERTE, like the rest of the staff.
Another measure requested is that a 12-month grace period be established by legislative regulation for the amortization of capital in those financial operations that leverage the activity. With this measure, during the next 12 months the companies would pay only the amounts related to the interest of such operations, returning the capital of these by increasing those months by
the initial maturity of the operations. This would have to be accompanied by an exemption from taxation in respect of the legal acts documented in these novations and the introduction of maximum notarial and registration fees.
Resumption of activity
Once production activity has resumed, companies will deploy all preventive measures to ensure the health and safety of workers and customers at all times, avoiding any risk of contagion from COVID-19. To this end, they will provide approved personal protection equipment and apply the containment measures established by the health authorities, which are currently working on their establishment.
In the event of a gradual reopening, the companies will not resort to temporary work or fixed-term contracts until all the staff affected by the ERTE due to force majeure has re-entered. The trade union representatives will participate in the process of progressive incorporation of the workers. It has also been agreed that provisions will be made so that improvements in the
Unemployment benefits paid by companies, when they reach adequate levels of occupation or activity, on terms to be negotiated in each company.
The social agents are committed to continuing the social dialogue in order to share principles and initiatives that defend the sector. After this first phase, CEHAT, Servicios-CCOO and FeSMC-UGT will begin a second phase to try to reach a consensus on other measures to strengthen the activity, in accordance with the forecasts and decisions of the health and government authority. They will work to strengthen the liquidity and capital of the companies; to guarantee the maintenance of employment and the purchasing power of the workers; and to analyse and define structural changes for the sector, based mainly on the training and re-qualification of the workforce, the rehabilitation and improvement of the physical and digital infrastructures of the sector, and the optimisation of the productive fabric and improvement of the tourism model.