Iago Negueruela and President Prohens - Things were cordial enough at the end of the parliamentary session. | Miquel À. Cañellas

The Mallorca Hoteliers Federation and the Association of Hotel Chains have accused the former minister of tourism, Iago Negueruela, of calling them "exploiters".

In the Balearic parliament on Tuesday, Negueruela attacked the government's decision not to hire additional employment inspectors from the mainland for the high season. This arrangement has existed since 2015, which was when Negueruela was employment minister but not also the minister for tourism.

He said to President Prohens: "As you seek to exploit them (the workers) even more, the controls are taken away. The message it conveys is that (businesspeople) can do what they want, with impunity." Prohens responded by demanding that Negueruela apologise.

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Following the parliamentary session, sources from Negueruela's party, PSOE, insisted that he had limited himself to denouncing the impunity involved in eliminating the inspection reinforcement and had referred to businesspeople who exploit, without having specified anyone. A statement went on: "The only businesspeople who are bothered by inspections are the exploiters and Prohens makes it clear who she is with. And that is not with the majority of workers or with the majority of businesspeople, who are exemplary."

The hoteliers, however, described his words as defamation. "The former minister for the economic model, tourism and employment is accustomed to inciting, intoxicating, generating tension, and polarising the main economic activity of the Balearic Islands for his partisan purposes."

They added that salaries have increased by 30% since 2014 and that unemployment and temporary employment have been reduced to historic levels. "What a pity that the good results in labour matters achieved by workers and businesspeople in the Balearics, and about which until recently he boasted so much, are tarnished by a lack of respect."