Those of us in hospitality industry are breathing slightly easier because we’ve reached the magic month of September. The months of July and August are a time when you put your head down, work hard and look forward to living your life again. All of a sudden with all the stresses of the last two months you suddenly realise that there are only seven weeks until the end of season. Dare I mention that there are just over 100 days to Christmas?

Actually a shameless plug coming here. Saturday September 30 at Gringos we are celebrating Christmas. It’s a great opportunity for those who love the festive season, love a night at Gringos or haven’t had the chance to come and visit us this season. If you’re not aware of the phenomenon that is Gringos, then it’s an adult only rave-bingo night with prizes, on-stage audience dance-offs, tequila, and much more. But this one is a little bit different because we’re celebrating Christmas! A little early we know but it wouldn’t be Gringos if we didn’t do the unconventional.

Normally we have thunderstorms at the beginning of September, the air is cleared and the temperatures drop to a more manageable level. What we’ve had so far is a hurricane one weekend and strong winds and rain the following weekend. The upshot of it all is now the temperature has gone back up, work that one out!

To be honest September is my favourite month, well it will be once those temperatures drop. But can you now find a parking space, get a restaurant reservation, see your family and possibly even get a taxi? Ok well you can’t have them all.

The saying you don’t get anything for free is hitting home hard in Spain and I don’t think too many people are aware of it. It’s a ticking time bomb of people losing their right to unemployment benefit.
Let me explain: When the pandemic began we all thought the Spanish Government were very generous in giving the people unable to work the ERTE(furlough). What we weren’t told at the time was that they were using the money we’d paid in to get PARO (unemployment benefit). So basically if you get fired tomorrow the money you were paid on ERTE would be discounted from your PARO which in most people’s cases means you’ll hardly get anything. Also all the workers who have worked the last two years without claiming PARO but got the ERTE will also be entitled to hardly anything.

This is the second kick in the teeth for workers this year. After doing their tax returns in the middle of the year, most workers like in other years were expecting to pay back nothing or even get a rebate. But the majority were saddled with a bill of between 1000€ and 2000€! All because of the ERTE.

However there are instances on the mainland where workers have made a claim against SEPE (State Public Employment Service) and have won their cases. This sets a judicial precedent and I would urge everyone out there in this situation to speak to their lawyer or citizens advice to see where they stand. Like most things, SEPE won’t mention it to you, it’s up to you to take it further.

I hope this is a wake-up call for younger people here as there seems to be a distinct lack of people wanting to work. They’re happy to work for six months and expect the Government to pay for them to sit and do nothing for the other six months. It’s just not sustainable and people of my age must wonder if there will be any money left to pay pensions in the future.

I’ve been saying for years a winter plan needs to be put in place but nobody has managed it yet. The other problem is because of the cost of living here, fewer and fewer people are coming over from the mainland to work. Like they used to do pre-pandemic. The country is still in a state of flux after the non-result at the general election, which basically means nothing is getting done and believe me there is plenty to do.

I mentioned last week that my role of Dad Taxi has restarted. Last week we drove all the way to San Llorenç on the East coast for a friendly match. Just what you want on a Saturday morning. Only to discover that my youngest son was carrying an injury and the coach didn’t want to risk him. This week we’re off to my eldest sons first league game in Petra. Not the most hospitable of places particularly when it’s a 6pm kick-off and most of the village have been on the ale all afternoon. I kid you not when I say a grandmother in Mallorquín asked me whether I was born to someone with a dubious past when I shouted something in English at a game last year. I’ll leave you to work that one out. Great fun though and I wouldn’t miss it for the World.

Take care everybody and enjoy your weekend!