The number of visitors coming to Andalusia increased by 13% between 2008 and 2016, accompanied by an increase of 16.5% in the number of overnight stays, two indicators of growth for the Andalusian hospitality industry. The sector, paradoxically, has experienced a 7.74% decrease in its labor force, resulting in 2 732 fewer people working in local hotels in 2016 than in 2008.
According to a report presented by the CCOO trade union, the job losses are the darker side of Andalusia’s hospitality industry. Over 21% of all overnight stays in Spain were in Andalusian hotels – breaking the record of the number of Spanish and foreign tourists welcomed.
In the last few years, the region’s hospitality sector has created work opportunities in accordance with this positive trend… however, the types of jobs which have been created have come at the expense of more stable, higher quality, full-time positions, which are being replaced by more precarious jobs characterized by their temporary nature (50.55% of all contracts).
There is also widespread, “fraudulent” use of part-time contracting (35.11% of all contracts, 42.57% in the case of temporary contracts), “false self-employment”, illegal abuse of training contracts, as well as the “ever more worrying process of subcontracting and outsourcing in hotels”.
On the one hand, in the year 2016 – which the CCOO qualified as having been “the best in terms of the number of visitors as well as the number of overnight stays” since 1999 – the Andalusian hospitality industry was responsible for the creation of one out of every five jobs in Spain, but on the other hand, these jobs have come at the expense of increased labor precariousness, something which the labor union denounces.
There has been an increase in temporary, part-time and low paying jobs “and a high percentage of fraudulent practices which disguise long work days as part-time contracts”. All of these things have contributed to the destruction of stable, high-quality, full-time jobs, and have “substantiated the labor reform put in place by the government, which has led to the sector’s deregulation”.
Ricardo Flores, CCOO’s Provincial Secretary, Íñigo Vicente, Secretary of Andalusia’s Services Federation, Gonzalo Fuentes, the union’s Secretary for Institutional Policy, and Alejandro García, in charge of the hospitality sector for the CCOO in Granada, presented the report criticizing the “impasse” facing the negotiation of wage agreements in the provinces of Jaén and Granada.
“One needs to add to all this the fact that in 2017 we still need to negotiate the wage agreements in Sevilla, Almería and Cádiz”. The number of workers involved in collective negotiations in Andalusia totals 189 347. CCOO is worried about the fact that the wage agreements in Córdoba, Huelva and Málaga will still be in effect until the end of the year. In Jaén, “after many long years of being at an impasse, the negotiations have recently become revitalized and are beginning to show prospects for progress”. However, “workers in Granada’s hospitality industry have seen their wages frozen for the last three years and the negotiation of their wage agreement is at an impasses due to the arrogance of the sector’s employers”.
CCOO insists that employers in the sector should not outsource their services, “that companies should not subcontract those positions which are considered to be the backbone of the industry, such as maids, waiters, bartenders, receptionists as well as office and maintenance workers, that is to say that they should not contract or subcontract the services of other companies in order to provide these services themselves”.
The report also proposes “elements” to bring forth a model for the sustainable development of the tourism industry in Andalusia, in order to answer those who view the seasonal nature of tourism as being the most serious structural problem facing the tourism industry. In those Andalusian provinces affected by the problem of seasonality “a total of 150 certified hotel establishments closed in 2016, which represents 64 964 positions, close to 39% of all the positions in the hospitality industry in Andalusia’s coastal region”.
CCOO has suggested establishing a network of municipalities which are against the seasonality of tourism and the implementation of the action plan in the coastal region. They also feel that it is worth wagering on the “the diversity of the region’s tourism sectors and new products”, as well as on the development of social tourism in the off-peak seasons.