THE president of the Association of Hoteliers of the Costa del Sol (AEHCO), Jose Luque, has said that an expansion of the ERTE scheme is needed if hotels in Spain are to survive. 

With the current international travel scenario, the average occupancy in the Costa del Sol is expected to be around 57% in September before dropping to 42.3% in October. 

Luque has called the situation ‘difficult’ and asked that government and trade union representatives negotiate the extension of the ERTE furlough scheme in the tourism sector into April 2022.

“It has been national tourism that has saved the summer season in Andalucia, but international markets continue not to respond as expected,” said Luque.

“We have to be prepared to face a few difficult months again, hence we reiterate the need to articulate measures in advance that allow employers to plan a new scenario.” 

At the end of May, the Government announced the extension of the ERTE scheme for the sector until 30 September. It was the fifth time that it expanded this coverage since the outbreak of the pandemic.

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.

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.

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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