Latest Gran Canaria News, Views & Sunshine
Foundation Investigated for Alleged Mismanagement of Public Funds Meant for Care of Unaccompanied Migrant Minors
Jun, 2023 |
The 7th Investigative Court of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has opened a preliminary investigation into the Social Response Foundation Siglo XXI and four of its directors. The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office in Las Palmas filed a complaint against them, alleging crimes that could include forgery of commercial documents, mismanagement, and embezzlement of public funds. The investigation aims to determine whether this nonprofit organisation, and its officials, could have misused public funds intended for the care of unaccompanied migrant minors, during the migration crisis of 2020 that was precipitated by the pandemic confinement on the islands, leading to a build up of arrivals having to be assessed and cared for by the Canary Islands Regional Government, using hotels left empty due to the lack of tourism. The estimated amount involved in the alleged misuse stands at around €12.5 million between 2020 and 2022 on Gran Canaria alone.
Canary Islands Expect Rain and Potential Storm Weather Next Week
Jun, 2023 |
The Canary Islands are preparing for a change in the weather next week, as a significant increase in cloud is expected bringing higher probability of rain. The effects of a powerful storm forming in the Atlantic Ocean are likely to extend to the Canary Islands as well as neighbouring Madeira and The Azores.
The Canary Guide #WeekendTips 2-4 June 2023
Jun, 2023 |
June is here and that means that summer is just around the corner. The Patron Saints’ festivities in honour of San Juan de Bautista and San Antonio de Padua are just getting started on Gran Canaria, and in Pueblo de Mogán the main Romería pilgrimage for San Antonio El Chico is this first Saturday of June, as well as the start of the build up to those in Arucas, Santa Brígida and Moya. This weekend also brings the biggest outlet fair shopping experience back to INFECAR and a collectables fair in Gáldar.
OPERATION KILO is this weekend, at all participating supermarkets, asking you to add a few non-perishable food items to the Food Bank collection boxes to help families in need.
Vox Enters Canarian Politics, Stage Right: Anti-Migrant, Anti-Feminist, Anti-Green, Anti-Autonomy, Anti-LGBT, Anti-Multiculturalism, Pro-Franco politics find a foothold on The Canary Islands
May, 2023 |
The Canary Islands were unable to avoid the rise of the far right on Sunday, unlike in 2019, writes Natalia G. Vargas in Canarias Ahora. Vox, which previously had no representation on the islands, managed to make its presence felt in several municipalities and councils this May 28. They also secured seats in the Canary Islands’ regional parliament, securing four deputies. “Defending what is ours, our own, and fighting against insecurity” were the slogans that underpinned Vox’s campaign in The Canary Islands, along with “family, employment, and freedom.” This rhetoric, coupled with an electoral program that was repeated across all local elections in Spain, proved sufficient. Dozens of cities and towns on the islands welcomed their first far right candidates of the modern democratic era into Canarian politics, with urban areas serving as their main strongholds.
La Alcaldesa Bueno Secures Incredible Majority in Mogán
May, 2023 |
Mogán, May 29, 2023 – The often controversial incumbent, O Bueno, La Alcaldesa, has achieved an unprecedented and resounding victory once more in Mogán. The candidate who switched her party’s name, for these elections, to “Juntos por Mogán”, a local ally of the regionalist conservatives “Coalición Canaria” (CC), will once again assume the role of mayor. Her party has clinched a rather noteworthy 17 out of the 21 seats in the Municipal Council of this popular tourism destination located on the sunny southwest of Gran Canaria.
Government agrees to extend €50 flat rate for newly self-employed workers to two years
May, 2019 | Business, employment
The Government of the Canary Islands last week approved the allocation of part of budget surplus from the Canary Islands Autonomous Community to be used to finance a two-year extension of the Auntonomo flat rate contribution of 50 euros for the newly self-employed on the Islands. Specifically, six million euros will be allocated to this initiative.
Thanks to this measure, the newly self-employed on the Canary Islands will be able to contribute just 50 euros a month for their second year of operation, which until now had meant that any self-employed person would have to pay a minimum of 283 euros per month after their first year of operation, in minimum social security contributions.
The measure will be also be retroactive from January 1, 2019. So at the time when the call is resolved the Government of the Canary Islands will compensate in advance each of the new professionals up to the difference between the €50 & €283 paid over previous months. The call is to be managed by the Canary Islands Employment Service.
Spokesperson and Minister for Finance of the Canary Islands Government, Rosa Dávila, explained during a press conference after last week’s Council session that “while registrations of self-employed at national level had reduced for the first time in five years during the first quarter of 2019, the Canary Islands maintain a positive trend. We must remember that at the end of 2018, the islands led the national ranking with an increase of 4.3%.”
“This data shows that the increase in self-employment is an option increasingly chosen by Canary Islanders and residents of the Canary Islands, so any measure we can put in place to support their activity is the least we can do” she said.
ECA fuming over Ryanair threats to close Canary Islands bases
The European Cockpit Association (ECA) represents the collective interests of professional pilots at European level, striving for the highest levels of aviation safety and fostering social rights and quality employment.
This week the ECA reported that within the first three days of 2019, in negotiations with cabin crew unions in Spain, “Ryanair threatened closure of two bases in the Canary Islands” (Tenerife South & Gran Canaria) if the cabin crew did not sign Collective Labour Agreements, CLAs written in the company’s own self interest, by the 18 Jan 2019. Similar threats and ultimatums had been made to pilot unions last year and seriously undermine the pilots’ confidence in Ryanair’s good faith. Pilot unions in several countries have suspended negotiations as a result of such threats hanging in the air.
ECA President Jon Horne says “We see base closures and downsizing used by Ryanair as the ‘Bogeyman’ to push employees into submission – no strikes, no disputes, no hard negotiations, just accept our ‘deal’”.
“Ryanair has a history of this behaviour, with the result of alienating its employees. Maybe management has forgotten already that this ‘new Ryanair’ is supposed to be a better version of itself? Whatever the reason, such behaviour is not acceptable and shows a complete disregard for any form of normal industrial relations, contradicting its own claims of establishing positive relations with pilot (and cabin crew) unions.”
The threats of base closures and downsizing have been used previously on a number of occasions, say the ECA in an official statement.
“Ryanair’s failure to learn how to engage in normal industrial relations practices could be a significant destabilising force in 2019,” says ECA Secretary General Philip von Schöppenthau. “Does Ryanair realise the impact on crews’ lives and families in those bases? It is time for Ryanair – and its shareholders – to consider how such ‘weaponising’ of base closures is compatible with claims of establishing positive union relations and with their social dialogue and crew retention strategy. In our view, it is simply counter-productive and unsustainable.”
Gran Canaria urges EU to withdraw gas financing and promote renewable energy in the Canary Islands
Feb, 2018 | Environment, Government
The president of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Antonio Morales, has sent a letter to the president of the European Investment Bank, Werner Hoyer, and to the president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, and the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Junker, in which he openly questions the €125 million loan granted to the multinational company Redexis to introduce, consume and burn gaseous hydrocarbons in the Canary Islands and urges that this funding be withdrawn and used instead to promote clean energy.
In the letter, the governing Cabildo of Gran Canaria considers that the European Investment Bank finances -using European public funds- in this case contravenes one of the three basic principles of the entity itself, namely the fight against climate change, which is why it it has moved the sub-tropical island’s Presidency to send this request to reconsider the funding decision, and to instead direct that money to the development of clean and sustainable energies in the Canary Islands.
The archipelago has an extraordinary potential to implement renewable energy and contribute to achieving the essential energy sovereignty of the Islands at a time when, additionally, “decarbonisation” processes are priority challenges in European and international economies in their efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG).
The European Investment Bank has in the past had to reassess other capital, injected to entities or projects, because of proven fraud or policies that would produce clear social harm, such as in the case of the Volkswagen or the Castor Platform emissions, and it is the opinion of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria that recent support to Redexis -owned by the American investment fund Goldman Sachs-, to introduce gas networks on the Islands represents “a new and evident case of social, environmental and energy unsustainability”.
Redexis establishes in its corporate ethics code “the adoption of commercial actions within a framework of ethical, social, environmental and economically responsible behaviour”, but its decision in the Canary Islands openly violates these precepts by imposing its private interests over social and environmental ones ignoring multiple sectors in the Canary Islands that reject the continuance of the burning of hydrocarbons as a viable source of energy for the future.
In the letter addressed, to the presidents of the European Investment Bank, the European Parliament and the European Commission, the Cabildo de Gran Canaria exposes emphasises various arguments requesting the reconsideration of this operation because it is counterproductive in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, sustainability, safety, profitability and transparency, among other reasons.
The Cabildo de Gran Canaria actively cooperate with the authorities, as well as social, environmental and political organisations of the Canary Islands, the state and internationally, with the aim of progressing a committed movement towards a social, independent and sustainable energy model, that is specifically opposed to polluting fossil fuels.
The agreement signed between the Bank and Redexis “alludes to the fact that the investment aimed at expanding gas in the Canary Islands is part of the so-called Junker Plan to boost job creation, growth and competitiveness in the energy, environmental and anti-climate-change sectors, but it is clear that the announced investment also directly clashes with the fundamental principles of this European Plan, says the letter signed by the president “who recalls, on the other hand, that the penetration of renewables is a huge niche for the creation of employment and research and that the Canary Islands is in a position to become an international benchmark in this area.
In addition, “various countries of the European Union and major cities of the continent are addressing the progressive closure of plants and gas distribution networks as part of their firm commitments to reduce pollutant emissions, so it is very difficult to explain and to understand that the Canary Islands would now promote antagonistic policies about such well-proven and necessary efforts “.
The energy policy of the European Union for the islands of the Ultraperipheral Regions, the president said in his letter, prioritizes the use of clean energy to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels, “clearly resulting in a contradiction that from the Union European and from the European Investment Bank in their apparent support of new infrastructure of such great magnitude to store, process, distribute, consume and burn more fossil fuels”, a project that also has seen no feasibility studies or clients and is on track to finally generate a deficit for which it is the citizens who will in the end pay.
The letter explains that The Canary Islands possess extraordinary conditions to generate energy from clean sources, from the air, thermal heat, wind, sea and from the sun, and explains that the supposed economic and environmental benefits of gas are non-existent, as they are only relevant to its combustion and do not take into account the entire process of obtaining this fuel.
The president of the Cabildo, Antonio Morales, explained that “the letter addressed to the European institutions responds to an inescapable and firm commitment by the Corporation in its focus on cutting-edge energy and social policies, with a vision of the future adapted to the recommendations of the scientific community, the European Union and the United Nations. “
Noisy demonstration by construction workers outside Puerto Rico hotel
Feb, 2018 | Business, employment, Mogán, Tourism
A Gran Canaria hotel chain has in recent weeks reopened the former Portosol hotel under the name of the Nachosol Atlantic , in Puerto Rico, after a comprehensive renovation of all the facilities and the services it provides. The remodeling was to give the building a fresher, more up-to-date look, better adapted to the modern day tourism reality of the Canaries.
The hotel, located on Calle Fuerteventura number 15, was originally opened in 1988 as a complex of 34 apartments and now, after taking advantage of the latest Tourism Modernisation Law, has returned to the market to add a new quality offering for the south of the island. having converted into a four-star establishment with 51 rooms. The building overlooks the ever-popular Puerto Rico beach.
However, this shiny new venture, implemented by IG Hotels & Resorts, has been marred over recent days by protests from some of the construction workers who brought about the changes, who say that despite the announced multi-million euro investment they have still yet to be paid and who have resorted to loudly expressing their disgust at the situation directly outside the hotel itself, where demonstrators have been treating the hotel’s first new guests to daily loud drumming and horn blowing, holding aloft banners demanding that the hotel “Pay your Debts” in a last resort effort to gain acknowledgement for their plight.
The works at the property, which occupies a plot of around 800 square meters, took eight months and the company say they have made an investment of three million euros. “After thirty years, I needed a deep intervention and practically everything is new, the plumbing, the electricity, the furniture, the swimming pools and the jacuzzi”, explained Yaiza Guedes, owner of the establishment, when talking to local Spanish language daily La Provincia on the eve of the re-opening “we have only kept the structure of the building which we have reinforced.”
The reopening of the establishment was lauded in the press for bringing new job opportunities to the municipality to alleviate unemployment. “It’s a way to help the locality,” said the owner of the property; it appears however that somewhere along the line someone has messed up and forgotten to pay some of the workers who have been fundamental in effecting the change.
Though there do not appear to have been any official statements from either side in the dispute just yet, the demonstrators are certainly beginning to attract attention, and it now remains to be seen whether the local press will cover the story and help ensure a quick and satisfactory resolution for all involved.
One supporter of the demonstration put it like this: “Construction company at war to get paid for the work done in a hotel complex in the south of Canaria. (NachoSol Atlantic). Opening party in style with people of great influence on our island and debt without ditch. Maximum diffusion I ask you to reach those responsible and let it be known that the big businessmen continue to play with the bread of Canarian companies and their workers.”
Hotel housekeeping staff union call for general strike due to poor working conditions
Dec, 2017 | employment, Health, Tourism
Chambermaid making bed in hotel room
The Sindicalistas de Base Union, who represent housekeeping staff working in the tourism industry, have agreed to call for general strike of room cleaning chambermaids at hotels and apartments throughout Canary Islands on December 25 and January 1.
Union leader, Manuel Fitas, explained in statements to the Efe news agency that the reason for calling the general strike is due to continuing poor working conditions, low quality employment and the absence of occupational health and safety still being endured by the collective cleaning staff employed in the sector.
Fitas has denounced the physical and mental burden borne daily by chambermaids, who number around 20,000 in the Canary Islands and are expected to average between 23 and 25 rooms cleaned every day.
He pointed out that there are some worrying figures emerging with 90 percent of housekeeping staff having to retire on a disability pension rather than on contributory retirement.
Spanish political parties move to curb unpaid overtime
Oct, 2017 | employment
The Spanish political parties Unidos Podemos – En Comú Podem – En Marea, PNV and the UPN have all supported a proposal admitted in the recent plenum meeting of the Congreso de Los Diputados (Spain’s lower house, similar to the house of commons in the UK) to process a PSOE bill (proposal of law) that looks to compel companies to keep a record with the hours worked by each employee. Regardless of the votes of Esquerra Republicana or the PDeCAT, who were understandably absent during the debate on Tuesday, the PSOE is now guaranteed admission of the initiative thanks to the abstention by the centre right Ciudadanos party (C’s), who are in disagreement with the form of the proposal. For their part, the conservative PP emphasized that the initiative forgets “the new trends in the world of work”, pointing out that this issue is already being dealt with by the Bureau on quality of employment, between the trade unions CC.OO. and UGT, the business organizations CEOE and Cepyme, and the Ministry of Employment and Social Security.
Socialist Employment spokeswoman, Rocío de Frutos, has argued that the initiative would serve to guarantee conciliation, would improve resources for Social Security – because all hours worked would be quoted – and would address the psychosocial risk involved with “excessive presence in the workplace “.
Demonstrate what hours you work, charge for it and quote it
“The minimum thing [we need] to talk about quality of work is that a worker can demonstrate what [hours they] work, charge for what they work, and quote [the amount] they charge,” said the Socialist deputy, arguing that mandatory registration “would [put an end to] the excess of unjustified hours and would give the worker an indispensable element of proof “.
She also argued that control of hours worked would boost job creation because, according to calculations by the trade unions, to which De Frutos referred, computing all unpaid overtime could create more than 326,000 new jobs .
3.5 million free hours each week
Her counterpart in Unidos Podemos, Alberto Rodríguez, stressed during his speech that every week we work 3.5 million unpaid hours in Spain. “This is completely illegal, unconstitutional too” he remarked.
“This is breaking Spain in half. They are stealing money from working people,” Rodríguez added, recalling that the most recent proposal from Podemos to amend the Workers’ Statutes ended with a veto from the government, which in his opinion was “direct aggression toward the separation of powers”.
“For the PP, the separation of powers, workers’ rights and democracy itself are not an advance of humanity, but uncomfortable obstacles [with which] to do what they like most: stealing, exploiting, looting and dividing the country,” he said concluding his speech by addressing the ‘popular’ government benches.
If there is no record, there is no overtime
On the part of the PNV, Íñigo Barandiaran expressed support for the idea of knowing the overtime hours work, but especially for the need to reverse the current burden on the worker to have to prove overworked hours.
All this is a consequence of the current legislation, he explained, since this only covers the obligation to keep an account of hours in case they are “extraordinary”, so if the hours are no registered, they are not taken into account.
The UPN’s deputy Íñigo Alli also supported the processing of this bill, proposed by the PSOE, pointing out that the recording of overtime “is habitual in the industrial sector” and asking “Why not in the services sector?” calling for workers to avoid “marathon days”, which do not improve productivity or generate more jobs.
C’s abstention: “There are other options”
Speaking “in accordance with the substance of the proposal,” but in disagreement with the form it takes as put forward by the PSOE, C’s justified their abstention by refuting several of the points in the proposal, despite the fact that their deputy Sergio del Campo has recognised the serious problem with the non-fulfillment of working days.
In any case, Del Campo has pointed out that registration is not “the most efficient way to control the [working] day” and pointed out that, although it is mandatory in part-time work, “it has become more of an administrative obstacle than an effective mechanism”.
“You just have to see the levels of fraud there are,” he argued.
In this regard, he advocated promoting electronic systems that guarantee the veracity, accuracy and control of inspection and the unions, and to compel companies to propose means of verification and, if they cannot, to reverse the burden of proof.
PP: “They forget the new labor trends”
PP MP Carmelo Romero criticised the proposal for forgetting “new trends in the world of work”, and listed factors, among others, as flexibility in business, the digital economy and work based on results.
While recognizing the need to clarify work hours timetables, Romero pointed out that this issue is already being addressed in the committee on the quality of employment.
“Let’s be prudent and leave all the agents that agree. If it is not possible, it will be the legislature that dictates the minimums to stick to,” he concluded.
Source: La Provincia