Car Sales Plummet, Nurses Lose Overtime, Nacional's Big Night, & Other Snippets

TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Eiryl … “exercise equipment in the park at Machico. I did have a go and think we should see more of these in UK parks”.

Front Page News : main source : Diário de Notícias 21/4/2009

Main headline and picture yesterday : ‘Less Cars Sold – The first quarter on Madeira marked by a 32% fall in sales, double the European average’. Well not quite, but if 17% is good enough for the Diário, it’s good enough for me. That’s 3 less cars per day over the last 3 months, but still 696 new cars sold over that period, which I thought didn’t sound too bad. What is weird in the chart of European car sales, that while every country has lost substantial sales, in Germany new cars sold 18% more than the first 3 months in 2008. Norway was the worst hit, so perhaps that falling oil revenue is hitting home.

A second main headline ‘Cut In The Nurses – The government orders a reduction in overtime. A measure that will put at risk 37% of a nurses salary. The impact on the quality of service is causing worries for the union’. It has already happened in the Health Centre of Câmara de Lobos (but as they don’t have any doctors, that probably doesn’t notice so much). All the hospitals / health centres are likely to be hit, but the director of nursing for Madeira defends the measure saying that will be mitigated by the ongoing recruitment of 83 new nurses. The 37% saving in salaries will be achieved by cutting nurses overtime by 7 hours a week. “Our colleagues are unhappy and concerned about the quality of service. Working hours have already been reduced, but this cut was not offset by the entry of new nurses. It is easy to see that with fewer professionals and with increased time they will not be able to meet all requirements”. That last bit was from a union spokesman, if you hadn’t guessed. I really hope it works out, but from recent experiences, my view is that the nurse to patient ratio is very high in Funchal Hospital. The real trick of course will be ramping up productivity, and that does not normally fit well with the culture here. It will probably hit us poor sods that have to go to the health centres more than it will hit patients in Funchal.

“Less navel and more Socialist Party” said Bernardo Trindade, the politician overall responsible for Portugal’s tourism industry. In a spurt of what President Jardim is famed for, he used his official visit to plug his own political party, though exactly what he meant I haven’t got a clue!

‘Leaders Owe Explanations – PSD and PS In commotion : Jardim hides negotiations he had in Lisbon, and Maximiano Martins demands transparency in the actions of Gouveia, leader of the socialists.’ It is alleged that Jardim traded Madeira’s place in the European elections for favours in the national elections, namely more PSD seats in the assembly of the republic, and hid the matter from his party. Maximiano Martins is the representative of the socialists of Madeira in the assembly of the republic. You already know the stories from the last week or so, so if no one minds I will cut this one short.

The extension of the grant of the ferry service, between Madeira and Porto Santo, was the first item on the agenda of the plenary session on Monday, in the Legislative Assembly of Madeira. The extension of the award was decided by the regional government, ten years before the end of the contract. A situation that surprised the opposition, and the Socialists have applied to set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the matter. I think it was probably a good move by the PSD-M to do this, to keep the Porto Santo Line tied in. Who else would be stupid enough to start this operation from scratch again, especially looking at the huge drop in passengers numbers over the last few months.

‘National Showing – Madeira goes to the Book Fair in Lisbon, in terms of literature and investigation’. Several councils and other entities have clubbed together to have a stand in the Lisbon Book Fair (30th April – 17th May), to show what Madeira has to offer in the way of books published.

‘Atheletes Protected – New rules in athletics safeguard Madeirans’. Something about protecting our sportspeople from ‘national and foreign invasion’, with a 60% component of Madeiran teams now needing to be made up of local talent, or residents.

The other sports headline is ‘Nacional Waits Historic Game In Silence’ – referring to tonight’s game (Weds) Nacional v Paços de Ferreira, in the semi-final of the Portugal Cup, which could take them to their first ever final, having already drawn the away leg. If they manage it they will probably meet Porto in the final. It’s on TVI, channel 4, live at 6.15pm. The rather frustrated Diário calls it a ‘black out’, with all the players refusing to speak to the media until after the game.

Other News :

The government is going to make a credit line available for companies in the sugar cane industry. It is expected to be in the order of €1.5 million. In addition it will reduce the IVA (VAT) on honey from 14% to 4%. That’s sugar cane honey don’t forget, not from bees. How can they cut IVA like that, isn’t the difference with IVA applied between luxuries and necessities, and outside of the control of the ‘Pooh Bears’ of Madeira (some of who like nothing more to immerse their snouts in the honey pot).

In another honey story (cane, not bees), half the production from 2008 is still unsold, a significant reason why the sugar cane growers are only being paid 25 cêntimos a kilo for this harvest. Monday morning, the trucks crammed with cane began to queue at the Honey Factory of Ribeiro Seco. Until May 5th they will continue to do so. The owner of the company Vasco Melim, almost 80 years of age and 63 years in this industry, sees the work starting but admits that the situation is unfavorable. Almost 80 years old, and 63 years in the same job, seems amazing, but not so surprising. I think if I worked just 15 days a year I would live to a ripe old age as well. I used to want to work in an ice cream factory, then it was in firework production, but now I am heavily swayed towards sugar cane grinding. It seems that blog writing is totally at the wrong end of my working wish list.

The issue of euthanasia is being discussed at a meeting of the Portuguese bishops, which will run until Thursday, in Fatima Portugal. One doctor in Funchal who was asked for an opinion on the matter, said that in the 41 years he had worked in the job nobody had even ever asked him. Similarly, he states that the issue arises often in conversation with colleagues and none of them had ever been confronted with a request for medically assisted death. It is illegal in our country, but the bishops are discussing it anyway, along with the elections taking place this year. Odd combination … or is it, or am I thinking of involuntary euthanasia?

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Tomorrows blog will not be up to it’s usual standard, sorry. I will explain why in due course, but in a nutshell, I have had to go to Portugal unexpectedly and won’t be back until Friday. That might knock on for a couple more days as I catch up with the news, but I will aim to post something tomorrow (Thursday).

 

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14 thoughts on “Car Sales Plummet, Nurses Lose Overtime, Nacional's Big Night, & Other Snippets”

  1. Der but you are already in Portugal!! Perhaps its a trip to the mainland…hope nothing to do with your health. A beautiful day here in Funchal, lots of blue sky, in fact no cloud (temperatures in England are good too, with Kent getting 20C)…Can I ask other readers for the flower festival where is the best place to be? I am taking my mum but she has mobility problems and can't stand for a long time (can you see from Santa Catrina park), is the route the same as the carnival? thanks
    –Sarah

    Reply
  2. Had sunny days in Britain for 5 days continuously.
    Warm also.
    Must be a record.
    trying to work out a decent price in June for a hotel.
    Bookings are down I'm told, but the prices are not it seems.
    Any ideas out there for a modestly priced funchal/lido hotel?
    –Martin

    Reply
  3. Hotel Raga (above the Lido) is a decent family run Hotel just refurbished. Certainly 3* (maybe 4* now) with some lovely front (sun/sea facing) rooms – some with two balconies! Friendly, with good pool and well situated for eating out etc…above the road so good for Buses and Taxis without too much noise…..only my opinion but we stayed there x3 times over the "house hunt" stage of our move here and the staff recognised us etc. We liked it and the price was right!
    –Jon

    Reply
  4. Hi Martin

    Have you tried http://www.madeira-web.com/PagesUK/hotels-resorts.html

    In March I stayed at the Melia Mare Hotel very nice 5* at its best. I have also stayed at the Monumental Lido Hotel (had a studio suite), found the room there very stuffy as air cond didn't work properly but was only there a couple of nights. if you are happy being above funchal not lido try http://www.four-views-baia.com from £55 prpn with b/f, Monumental lido from £59 prpn with b/f http://www.monumentallidomadeira.com, quinta dol sol from £44 prpn b/f http://www.enotelquintadosol.com, or dorisol florsal that's on est monumental from £35 prpn http://www.dorisolflorasolhotel.com – hope that helps
    –Sarah

    Reply
  5. re the picture – couldn't agree more having had fun with my 6 year old testing the equipment amd having to queue for the most popular apparatus – it was the machico food festival so could have been busier then normal!!

    Reply
  6. Sarah, I would recommend splashing out on a couple of seats in the stands for the Flower Festival, from the Tourist Info. They are expensive (about €29 but worth it for the 1st time. A good view & no standing. Hope you both enjoy it.
    –Jaquine

    Reply
  7. Sarah, I would recommend splashing out on a couple of seats in the stands for the Flower Festival, from the Tourist Info. They are expensive (about €29 but worth it for the 1st time. A good view & no standing. Hope you both enjoy it.
    –Jaquine

    Reply
  8. Hotel quinta penha da franca just above santa catarina park is lovely. Email them your dates and they will give you a price. Lovely established gardens and 2 pools, one in garden and one by sea.
    –karen

    Reply
  9. Hi Der hope everything is ok with you.. Martin i would also recommend Raga hotel in the lido.

    Srah pay for seatsif your mother cant stand long , it ollows the same route as the carnival, so the view wont be that great from the park , and its a good 1.5 hours to pass if your right by the beginning, so any further round youll be waiting longer, and it will be very very busy.
    –Tobi

    Reply
  10. Martin, completely agree with Karen re Hotel Quinta Penha Franca – our neighbour works there, so it obviously comes highly recommended! It is more traditional than the "new builds" and indeed does have that unique Madeiran quality feel about it…..the new wing has pool/sea view facing rooms also. Good luck!
    However, if you don't mind staying out of the city (20 mins) but want to be based within easy reach of same, Levada and coastal walks etc. Then we can only suggest our selves:
    http://www.casaparsons.com
    B&B to suit you.

    Hope all O.K. Der … Medical? Mainland?!?! Take Care, Good Luck.

    Nice one Tobi, must meet someday!
    Jon and Deb

    –Jon

    Reply
  11. Der, Germany launched a car scrappage scheme earlier this year (trade your old banger for a shiny new car and get a bonus) and this explains their jump in registrations.
    –DB in Dublin

    Reply
  12. Hi,

    In the blog you mention German new car sales going in the opposite direction to the rest of Europe and the reason is, I understand, Germany in the new year introduced a cash incentive of up to E2,000 for scrapping of old cars if related to purchase of a new one. Understand UK wants to do the same.

    Regards from a hot and sunny Qatar .

    –Robert

    Reply

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