Humans of Mallorca – just looking to live

The two years of Covid has been a leveller and the effects are now being felt

2022-02-03 Palma By Shirley Roberts

Shirley Roberts

Choice is available to those with money and there are plenty of them in Mallorca. For the overall benefit of the island our rich friends are extremely important. They have enough to fund an army of people to look after their needs.

They build and renovate houses which need staff to look after them. They use Nannies and Chauffeurs and online shopping with a vengeance. They enjoy the skills of the finest beauticians and hairdressers Mallorca has to offer. Some entertain lavishly and need the superior chefs and restaurants of our island. Many own beautiful yachts and rent them out to other rich people when they are not using it themselves. There is no doubt that our island benefits from this significant group of people from many parts of Europe and beyond.

So now it’s 2022 and travel is opening up

In the past, some of the rich incomers to Spain were considered a bit suspect. Proceeds of crime and the police interest in the way they flashed the cash was common. Ponzi schemes and ‘too good to be true’ investments have been a feature of our lives here and we have all learned to know the signs.

The two years of Covid has been a leveller and the effects are now being felt. The ostentatious displays of wealth were of little interest to anyone when all life was low key and held at home. We were ‘all in it together’ and the rich and not so rich banged their saucepans in appreciation of the work of the hospitals every week.

So now it’s 2022 and travel is opening up and people are largely free to live as they like. The Food Banks have never been so busy and the people face an unprecedented cost of living squeeze. The job vacancies are many and the discussions over salaries is a big feature of the employment process. In the past in Mallorca if you had a job with a ‘Convenio’ you were regarded as most fortunate.

This is all a very real problem in 2022

A ‘Convenio’ is the document which outlines the pay and conditions you can command from a job specification. This is an official way of making sure that collective agreements over pay and conditions are complied with. There is a ‘Convenio’ for most recognised jobs and trades.

Unfortunately, the ‘Convenio’ is regarded these days, as a ‘minimum wage document’. There is little attraction in applying for a job which proudly states that salary is ‘according to ‘Convenio’. The job seekers are happy to have that as a base line but the real negotiation is on the bonus, tips and profit share they can expect from the position. Many employers are shocked when they learn that the ‘Convenio’ is not cutting it with job seekers.

This is the first year since Brexit where the young of other European countries and the UK are not flocking here for their summer jobs. Many have learnt to love their home countries again, as pay and conditions have improved and opportunities are there. They will not leave now to work for the ‘Convenio’ of Mallorca with its high cost of living and impossible rental prices.

The two years of Covid has been a leveller

This is all a very real problem in 2022 which needs to be lived through to test the reality and what solutions are found. Local children with good qualifications are not finding the salary and work prospects in their home towns. They go where the money and City life is and take their skills with them. They watch the ‘Convenio’ debates and are not interested in working for the equivalent of 8 euros an hour for a waiters job.

Survival takes on many guises for families in Mallorca and this definition from the ‘Social Protection Organisation’ makes the situation clearer. This is said to be the life for 45% of our children, today, in Mallorca.

‘It is important to know that when we talk about child poverty in countries such as Spain, we are not talking about a lack of food or drinking water, a lack of education, or the inability to get health care (Espinosa, 2021). Instead, we refer to situations of disadvantage that many children face daily, such as significant material deprivation, malnourishment and poor quality of food, academic difficulties and early school dropout, limited options to travel and participate in social and recreational activities at school or in their community, and so on (Espinosa, 2021).’

The ‘Convenio’ is regarded these days, as a ‘minimum wage document’.

Humans of Majorca are a complex bundle of those who have plenty and those who do not have enough. Covid, Brexit and the time they have taken is to the detriment of developing meaningful social policies. Social Services, the Red Cross and Caritas know all about this first hand and are crying out for a levelling out program to see a future for those with little material wealth or benefit.

The survival stories are going to be a feature of 2022. I will certainly share them and we will all learn from them. They are only just beginning, ‘Humans of Mallorca’ will be right there, passing on the information.

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