Madeira on ice?, Labour laws, Funchal 500, 'Crisis, what crisis?', and other snippets

TODAY’S PHOTO : Borrowed from the Diário … Madeira Wine poster – see story below.   Front Page News : source : Diário de Notícias 16/7/2008   Under new labour laws bosses have the power to close their companies and send they workers on summer vacation when they feel like it. Article 240º states that the vacation periods have to be agreed between workers and management, but in reality and in the event of no agreement the boss can impose the  closure any time between May and October. Not very handy for those who like to think ahead and plan their vacations!   Plans to build a 4* hotel in Fajã da Ovelha are hitting a few bureaucratic set backs, and a dispute over access to the land with a neighbour is adding to the problem. Any idea that the hotel would be receiving its first guest within 2 years are now pure fantasy.   The new 14% IVA/VAT rate introduced at the beginning of this month has not been implemented by all those obliged to do so. The Diário accuses the authorities of having no control or inspection to enforce the change.   Young fraudsters are going door to door in Funchal asking for donations to ‘Criamar’, a voluntary  organisation that helps at risk children between the ages of 6 and 12 years.   Other News :   As part of the Funchal 500 celebrations, a regatta of  traditional canoes will be held in Funchal Bay on Sunday. It starts at midday, with the prize giving at 6pm.   Also as part of Funchal 500 there is to be a special dog show on 6th September. It will take place in the afternoon at 2.30, in the Lido Gardens (jardins do Lido). One of the displays will be from a member of the ‘Doggy Club’ who is the Portuguese champion and European runner-up (not clear if that’s a person or a dog?), and one of the stars will be a Border Collie that has appeared on TV in several soaps and shows. Entry applications will be invited sometime in August.   The Society for the Protection of Domestic Animals (SPAD) who were involved with a meeting with all the councils (Câmaras) on Tuesday might be making some progress in their struggle to get the councils to take their responsibilities seriously in the management of stray and abandoned animals. The president of SPAD has drawn up a protocol that he is asking all the councils to sign, and the councils themselves are considering drawing up a common strategy to deal with the problems. The protocol also involves animal sterilization.   10 charter flights have been organised between Moscow and Madeira, starting next month (3rd) until 15th October, and are expected to bring in around 1,300 tourists. All the visitors will be on a 10 day package.   The ground workers of SATA (airline that serves the routes between Madeira / Azores / Portugal) are to go on strike between 30th July and 11th August, over plans to segment the airline. Around 1,000 staff will be involved.   “It is good to make clear that there is no crisis in  Madeira, therefore we are going to have an economic growth, and with growth there is no crisis.  We accept that there are some sectors of activity that have some difficulties, and naturally these deserve our special attention”.  Quote from the minister of Planning and Finances in the Regional Government of Madeira in Wednesday’s newspaper. Well that’s reassuring then that Madeira is coping so well with the high inflation, the 40% increase in bankruptcy, rising unemployment, high interest rates, over 71% of the Portuguese population admitting financial difficulties  … perhaps the rest of Europe’s government heads should come to Madeira and learn just how they stave off recession here.  

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