NEGOTIATIONS on extending Spain’s ERTE furlough scheme resume tomorrow (Monday September 9).

A meeting in Palma (Mallorca) between government and trade union representatives ended without agreement on Friday.

But all sides are confident that the scheme will be extended, at least until December, with government and union sources saying that although no dates have been set, the scheme should last while ‘the effects of the pandemic are being felt’.

Yolanda Diaz
Yolanda Diaz

Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz was keen to emphasise that the ERTE had so far ‘saved 550,000 companies and 3.4 million jobs’.

Amongst the issues still to be resolved is that of the reduction in benefits many workers now face.

Workers who have been on the ERTE furlough scheme since March will soon see their income slashed unless there is a change in the law.

At the moment they get 70% of their base salary but according to unemployment benefit law – under which the ERTE scheme was introduced – this will fall to 50% after 181 days.

The reduction will affect thousands of recipients, with employees in sectors like tourism, hotels and services among the worst affected.

People who went on the ERTE from the start can expect to see their payment for September  –  which is paid out in October – cut.

Unions want this cut in benefits to be dropped.

Previously Diaz had said that the scheme will be extended ‘as long as necessary’. She said about the reduction in benefits: “It is a substantial decrease in income and we are very interested in correcting it,” adding that the aim was to keep the 70% level, but no commitment was made as to the level of benefits to be paid.

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