The law firm Garrigues and Deloitte have completed their audit of restoration work carried out at the Palau de la Mùsica under the ex-president Fèlix Millet (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The report investigating Millet and his team for fraud has discovered the diversion of some €9.6 million. Tactics used by Millet to divert part of the money raised for the remodeling of the headquarters in Barcelona include double-financing and using the same invoice to grant two separate administrations funds. Funding obtained for the works amounted to more than €26 million, €996,075 of which was raised by a national campaign and included contributions from individual patrons, sponsors, donors and 130 private companies. The difference between the money collected for the works and the cost comes in at €9.6 million and the audit reveals that some of the money was used to remodel Millet's home in L'Ametlla del Vallès (Vallés Oriental). Data also collected by Deloitte discovered that Millet and his management team presented the same invoices from Ferrovial (for €61,000) and from Clos 9, (€35,00) to both the Diputació and the Ministry of Culture (INAEM).
The summer tourist season has begun with optimism after a significant decline in visitors with airline companies supplying 10 percent more places at El Prat airport (read article in Castilina here, El Periodico). EL Prat airport is often relied on as a good indicator of how seasons will fare and the data looks encouraging with 11 new intercontinental routes and eight European destinations being launched this year. This summer the airport will have 28 intercontinental routes, the highest in the airport's history. Fernando Echegaray, the director of the airport explained that "Companies are responding to the effort that has been done in the airport, in just five years we have increased intercontinental flights by 75 percent". As well as the new further-afield destinations such as, Chicago or Luxor there will be eight new European destinations that didn't operate in 2009, which include, Hannover, Toulouse and Gdansk. The optimistic outlook from air traffic is backed by data from travel agents who are also witnessing a growth. "In the first quarter we sold between 4 percent and 6 percent more and hope to continue is this manner" said Francisco Carnerero, president of the Associació Catalana d'Agencies Viatges (ACAV). One of the trends that the agents are seeing is the recovery of long-haul destinations which were badly hit by the crisis and bird flu.
Only two of every ten dismissals are justified on economic grounds with experts seeing the cost of firing a barrier to recruitment (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The cost of dismissal has moved into the centre of the labour reform debate as it reaches it's final stretch with unions admitting that things can not carry on as they are. Current legislation already allows redundancy for company difficulties at a cost of 20 days per year worked instead of 45 days for unfair dismissal. But the reality is that these laws are not enforced. Professor Juan Jose Dolado, an expert in labour laws, said that three quarters of litigated dismissal rules in favour of the worker. A new proposed law will change the situation and make 80 percent of redundancies appropriate and make the compensation 20 days per year worked. "For the first time in Spanish economic history, labour reform is directly linked to deficit reduction and the consolidation of the financial system says Emilio Ontiveros, president of the AFI. This is because it is absolutely impossible to reduce the public deficit with 4.6 million people unemployed because spending on unemployment insurance has risen to more than €40,000 million and people without employment do not make Social Security contributions and the VAT or income tax contributions are very limited. Cándido Méndez, the Secretaría Genera of UGT said that labour reform itself does not create jobs and is suspicious "that reform is to please the markets". The unions however believe that something has to be done and are backing a summary procedure to simplify the process of layoffs.
Also in the news: More than 6000 people participated in a march against hunger in Castelldefels and Viladecans (read full article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The beaches of Zona Franca do not follow an announced decrease in the presence of lateros, with many spotted working at the weekend (read full article in Castilian here, El Periodico).