The employment ministry will undertake a special labour inspection campaign next year that will target bakeries and similar establishments which have their own bars. Employees are currently covered by the collective agreement for bakeries and not by the agreement for the hospitality sector, which includes regular bars, restaurants, cafes and hotels.
Unions and the bar/restaurant business sector have long objected to what they consider to be a proliferation of this type of establishment and have been calling on the employment ministry to make inspections. The minister, Iago Negueruela, has now signed an accord with unions and the restaurants association which commits his ministry to inspections.
The complaints relate to perceived unfair competition and a lack of quality of employment. These arise from the fact that certain employees carry out the same tasks as in the hospitality sector. They are paid anything up to 500 euros per month less. The ministry agrees with the unions and the hospitality sector that these tasks should be subject to the higher valued collective agreement.
Alfonso Robledo, president of the restaurants association, observes that bakery businesses are saving up to 6,000 euros a year in pay. "For us, this represents unfair competition." The two main unions, CCOO and UGT, are pleased that the inspection campaign has been agreed to. As well as pay, there are issues related to health and safety that differ between the collective agreements for the two sectors.
The government has also committed to a training plan for restaurant workers. This envisages courses designed to increase their skills and responsibilities.
The Associació de Forners i Pastissers de Balears reacted to the news of the inspection with surprise and indignation. Bakeries belonging to this guild - there are 282 in the Balearics - are signed up to the quality mark, Pa d?aquí, which was established two years ago in order to identify bakeries that sell their own products that are indicative of the Balearics and which have bakers.
The president of the association, Pep Magraner, asked for an urgent meeting with Negueruela, at which it was agreed that the bakeries belonging to the association will be excluded from the inspection campaign. The sale of products for consumption on the premises at these bakeries is, says Magraner, a minor aspect of their business. The only additional service provided is typically coffee and other hot drinks as well as soft drinks.
A distinction is therefore being made with establishments that essentially operate as cafes or restaurants, which define themselves as being "ovens" but have no baker as such and are not members of the association. Products are bought in, not made on the premises.