The President of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, received a commitment on Tuesday from the Spain’s Minister of Labour and Social Economy, Yolanda Díaz, that the Temporary Employment Regulation Files (ERTE), the Spanish Government “furlough scheme” for contracted employees at companies that could not continue operating this year, maintained in the Canary Islands and elsewhere since the state emergency, to extend the ERTEs for as long as necessary, as of September 30, the day they are currently due to expire.

The Canarian President met with Díaz on Tuesday afternoon, with a positive impression left of the ministers receptiveness to his requests,  in line with those of nightlife and hotel management unions and focused, above all, on the ERTE lasting as long as is necessary while the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect the economy, with its particular impact on tourism in the Canary Islands region, so dependent on the service sector. He defended the need to ensure that workers do not see their ERTE salary reduced from its current 70% to 50%, which, under rules introduced by the previous PP government, would be due to happen after the first 180 days of government help, a proposal that has been well received by the Ministry.

extend the ERTEs

Ángel Víctor Torres and the Spanish Labour Minister.

The president recalled the royal decree law, issued in the midst of de-escalation from the state of emergency, included specific mention of the ERTE in the Canary Islands, due to the great importance of tourism on the Islands. He went on to press for unity from the Islands and recalled that when the Archipelago works together, the best results have been obtained in any negotiation in Madrid. For this reason, he has asked all political parties, the employers’ association and unions to advocate working together in these special circumstances and times.

Torres reaffirmed his commitment to ensure that the situation surrounding pandemic should not result in workers being sacrificed, therefore, he expressed faith that the next meeting scheduled for this Friday between the central government, the employer’s association and the unions will lead to a definitive agreement on these two aspects. He further stressed that incentives for companies must be adapted to the demand at all times. In his opinion, the ERTEs must last precisely “until there is a normalised situation. That would be the best news from today’s meeting”.

Regarding the impact on tourism, he strongly pointed out that it is a “multi-sectoral” economic area and, therefore, believes that all those affected by this general situation should benefit from this commitment to extend the ERTEs.

For the Canarian president, it is also key that there be a new state budget and expressed regret that, since the new Economic and Fiscal Regime (REF) of the Islands was approved, as well as the new Statute of Autonomy, in October 2018, but no General State accounts have been made available to develop these two key norms, he called for this Law to be endorsed in Congress. “These are moments for reaching out, giving us a hand and thinking about the people who are unemployed in the Canary Islands,” he said.