Local Daily News 22nd January

Elche opens a shelter in Los Palmerales to protect homeless people from the cold

The Elche City Council is preparing a shelter in the Los Palmerales social centre for homeless people to take shelter from the cold. The space was scheduled to be enabled from this Friday until next Tuesday, when the emergency due to low temperatures was activated.

Although the initiative was in the air in the morning as the cold had subsided, the protocol has finally been activated and since approximately 7:00 p.m. all resources such as beds and blankets are being prepared.

To date, homeless people have been sheltering from the cold and strong gusts of wind in spaces such as the basement of the Bimil.lenari bridge.

Mariano Valera, mayor of Social Rights, stresses that this shelter is necessary because temperature drops to zero degrees are being contemplated in the next few hours, and explains that this measure is provisional, and that other spaces are being studied for future emergencies before the low-demand centre is definitively built.

Thus, the initial forecast is that this social centre will open at 8:00 p.m. until 8:00 a.m., since even volunteers have been notifying homeless people in recent days. It will be coordinated from the council with the organisations involved in the work table for homeless people.

For this reason, the Red Cross has arranged beds for some 30 people and the humanitarian organisation will be in charge of offering warm and hygienic clothing as well as showers, since the Mobile Day Center has been installed at the door, a motorhome, equipped with four showers, two changing rooms, and a service for those who need it. DYA will deliver breakfasts, will do cleaning tasks and will be in charge of monitoring the space.

The Conciénciate Foundation will offer dinners and will carry out the transfer of people who have mobility difficulties and cannot attend independently. Similarly, both the Local Police and Civil Protection will support this volunteer association to help with the transfer.

From the association they emphasise that this measure is important and remember that in recent years a space has not been set up to deal with the cold, so it is a measure that partly alleviates the need of the homeless until Cáritas builds the centre of low demand.

The first year of the labour reform leaves almost 272,000 new indefinite workers in Alicante

It seemed almost like a biblical curse, an inevitable condition of the Alicante labour market due to its excessive dependence on seasonal sectors, such as tourism, toys or footwear. But barely a year of labour reform was enough -in fact, less, if one takes into account the grace period until March 30 that companies were given to adapt to the new regulations- to verify that precariousness could also be combated .

The records offered by the Public Employment Service (Sepe) leave little room for doubt. In just one year, 11% of permanent contracts in the province have gone to 47.5%, almost half of the total. Such resounding data that unions and employers agree for once in their assessment, qualifying the regulatory changes as a success and highlighting their positive effects on the provincial economy.

“The labour reform of 2022 is assuming a before and after in relation to the fight against temporary employment in Spain, one of the main scourges of the labour market for several decades and against which no other type of antidote had been found. of approach”, also agrees the professor of the Department of Applied Economic Analysis of the UA and expert in labour issues Hipólito Simón.

The data of 47.5% of permanent contracts means that last year they found permanent employment or improved their situation to 271,738 workers in the province, almost four times more than in 2021, when there were 68,891, and that in 2019, before the pandemic, when 71,867 were counted. An unprecedented leap in the historical series.

It is true that a considerable part of those who accessed a permanent job did so under the discontinuous fixed modality, which means that they only work part of the year, but Simón recalls that even in these cases there was an improvement. “Discontinuous permanent contracts present obvious advantages in relation to the temporary contracts that they replace, among which are greater rights for workers -among which the accumulation of seniority stands out in view of the compensation received at the termination of the contract- and a greater certainty in relation to his future work.To give an example, a person who did the nougat campaign every year with a company in Xixona with temporary contracts was not sure that they would call him the following year, but with a discontinuous contract, yes, there is the certainty that he will be called or that, alternatively, he will be compensated”, recalls the UA professor, for whom the controversy over this type of employment is a political issue.

In total, up to 101,061 of the new stable contracts, 37% of the total, were under this format. Of the rest of the ordinary permanent jobs that were generated in the province in 2022, up to 70,127 were part-time – the next point to improve in the provincial labour market, according to the unions – and 101,050 were full-time jobs.

Even considering only this last figure, the progress is notable since in 2019, when the economy reached its highest levels before the coronavirus paralyzed activity, only 37,249 permanent full-time jobs were created, that is, barely a third of those from last year.

As is logical, this progress has also translated into a drop in the volume of temporary contracts, which have been reduced from 516,139 to 299,780. A decrease that has been concentrated especially in the type of contracts for works and services, which have gone from 178,391 to 28,974, and which was where the greatest abuses were concentrated. For their part, temporary contracts due to production circumstances –those that allow the hotel staff to be reinforced in the summer or those of sales trade- have fallen to a lesser extent, going from 298,448 to 220,741.

The Torrevieja Hospital hires the new laboratory without clarifying the future of the current staff

The Ministry of Health has awarded the bulk of the contract for the supply of technology and material to carry out thousands of diagnostic tests at the Torrevieja University Hospital and which will replace the service that Torrevieja Diagnósticos, a company of the Ribera Group, has been carrying out for 16 years.

The main batch of the twelve in tender has been awarded to the Siemens company, and four have been deserted. But Friday the suspension of the formalisation of the entire procedure was communicated due to the presentation of an appeal by one of the competing companies before the Central Administrative Court of Contractual Appeals.

The progress in its formalisation -the appeal would be resolved in approximately a month- generates even more uncertainty for the 30 health workers who work for Torrevieja Diagnósticos and for whom their dismissal by Torrevieja Diagnósticos is expected. The Generalitat will cover the service with professionals from the statutory personnel employment exchange.

Those affected have been demonstrating every Friday for months to demand that Health seek a legal formula to continue their work in the laboratory. They also personally asked Ximo Puig to find a solution on a visit to Torrevieja. Many of these toilets have been working in this service, integrated into the Hospital, but dependent on a company outside the previous concessionaire, for fifteen years.

The union representatives of these workers brought a lawsuit to the Social Court to have their right to be permanent staff in the workforce recognized, like the more than a thousand that the Ministry of Health assumed in the reversion process in October 2021.

Health indicates that Ribera never incorporated, throughout its concession, these external personnel as part of the hospital and therefore did not appear on the list of personnel to be subrogated. The hearing to resolve this lawsuit was scheduled at the beginning of this month but has been delayed to March, as this newspaper has been able to confirm.

In this procedure, Health has asked Ribera, who has indicated that there are no vacancies in the rest of its laboratories, to clarify how it decided to outsource the service without integrating this staff. There is no possibility that this template can be integrated into the job market because its seniority does not count. Health, with the management, would be trying to promote a legal alternative from the labour point of view to rescue these workers, but there is hardly any legal margin. The specialised workers of the laboratory now face a kind of transitory period between the launch of the new service and the lack of resolution to their claim in the courts.

The provincial transport strike has been called off after reaching an agreement

Practically at the discount. This is how the agreement was reached in the provincial transport agreement, which has made it possible to call off the strike to which the ten thousand workers in the sector were called on Monday and Tuesday of next week. The employers and the unions, after months of unsuccessful talks, reached an agreement late Friday night through which there will be a 12.5% salary increase until 2023, leaving the 2024 conditions for a later negotiation. The diets, on the other hand, will remain frozen during this exercise.

The conflict in the collective bargaining of transport dates back to July last year, at which time the unions and the UGT reached a principle of agreement with the Alicante Provincial Transport Federation (Fetrama) that has never come into effect. There, a retroactive salary increase of 3% was established for 2021, of 3.5% with an update of the CPI of up to 2% more for 2022, another of 2.5% with an update of up to 1% for 2023, and a final of 2% with the same update for 2024. Similarly, it had been agreed that on December 31 of this last year the tables would be updated taking the agreed increases and real inflation as a reference.

After months without any progress, and with the strike call already on the table, both parties met again last Wednesday before the Labor Arbitration Court, without an agreement being reached either. This is how it came to the day on Friday, in which, in the morning, there was what at first seemed like the last attempt to reach an agreement before the strike, a meeting that was mediated by the General Directorate of Labor. Well, after four hours of meeting, unions and employers got up from the table assuming that the mobilisation on Monday and Tuesday was already inevitable.

However, the situation took a 180 degree turn late at night, practically in extremis, when, after various contacts, an agreement was reached that, finally, led to the strike being called off. According to the information provided, the pact has meant that the agreement, which was originally going to be in force until 2024, has been cut by one year. Thus, for 2021 a salary increase with retroactive effects of 3% has been set, for 2022 of 5.5% and for 2023 of 2.5%, with a final revision depending on the evolution of the CPI of up to 1 ,5%. The overall increase, therefore, is around 12.5%. Allowances, on the other hand, will remain frozen during this year, although arrears will be paid.

On the union side, Francisco Vilaplana, from the UGT Transport Federation, highlights the resignations they have had to assume regarding the initial proposals to make the agreement possible. In his words, “we have shown great responsibility and discarded some of our claims. In any case, we have managed to ensure that workers do not lose purchasing power, which was the fundamental objective.”

For his part, the general secretary of Fetrama, Francisco Ortiz, has expressed his satisfaction with the agreement reached. “Both the unions and us – he points out – have had to do our part, but the important thing is that an exercise of responsibility has been carried out to avoid a strike that would not only have harmed the sector, but also society as a whole”.

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