The Covid_19 Monitoring Committee in its meeting held today, Wednesday, March 25 and, after observing the evolution of the activity of the sector in the last three days, continues to evaluate the performance of the Government of Spain, the Regional Government and the Local Entities, on the construction sector, and he wants to convey his conclusions to our interlocutors with the Government of Spain and the Regional Government: Government Delegation, Regional Ministry of Development, CNC and CROEM.
The determination and denunciation of the effects of its action, which are clearly negative, are the result of the analysis of the surveys carried out every day, since the state of alarm was declared by the Government of Spain on March 14.
We consider that the adoption of contingency measures to solve these negative effects should be immediate, especially when we have heard the response of the State Attorney to the consultation on the cessation of construction activity, which determines that construction must continue, as it has been considered an activity with a low risk of contagion, in addition to affirming that the purpose of the declaration of the state of alarm is not the total paralysis of the economy.
Although the report sets out, in the last section, the economic and labor measures that are considered imperative, this committee wants to denounce the following consequences of the crisis for the sector:
- Works are being halted by order of the health and safety coordinators and the optional directorates.
The monitoring committee, in this sense, denounces that said technicians do NOT have the competence to order said stoppage due to Covid_19 causes.
- The sector is being demonized, as it already happened in the 2008 crisis, by not adopting measures that guarantee the legal security of construction entrepreneurs;
given the diverse existing casuistry that has not been contemplated and that is repeated daily, together with the duty to continue the activity as a consequence of the decision of the Government of the Nation not to declare the cessation of the activity, supported by the State Advocacy.
- There is no economic measures plan to support the difficulties faced by construction entrepreneurs, as the activity continues in abnormal circumstances, as a consequence of the state of alarm.
- There is also no plan of support measures for entrepreneurs who have seen their activity paralyzed by public administrations (national, autonomous or local), which allows the maintenance of the company and the subsequent resumption of activity, much less the maintenance of employment. because they cannot take ERTE due to force majeure.
The committee also wants to report that the surveys carried out show that businessmen in the sector blame the national, regional and local administration for the negative effects that are taking place, since they consider that it has existed and there is a lack of foresight.
Having said that, we also want to inform you of the friendly face of this crisis, which affects our sector and, therefore, we are pleased and proud to inform you that numerous companies have approached FRECOM to carry out solidarity actions and finance various materials, such as masks and other protective equipment, both for our employees and for healthcare professionals.
Finally, from FRECOM we want to encourage all employers to continue complying with the security measures recommended by the health authority and to continue developing the activity while they can comply with these measures.
Next, we present the sixth report of the Covid_19 Monitoring Committee:
We have agreed with all the associations the claims that we provide in today's report on Wednesday 25, considering that the commitment to unity of the sector has its maximum exponent in actions like this, where beyond the individuality of each association, we work together to develop a only report under the signature of the monitoring committee created by FRECOM, with the collaboration of some Professional Colleges linked to our activity.
FRECOM has reiterated the meeting with the Employment Counselor, requested on Monday, March 23.
Likewise, a letter has been sent to the Government Delegation, to the Ministry of Development and Infrastructure and also to the Ministry of Employment, Research and Universities to provide us with rapid tests for coronavirus, understanding that these are the greatest detection and protection of our workers.
CNC and CROEM support our proposals and act as a speaker for the measures that we request from the Government of Spain and the Regional Government, respectively.
We are fully confident that, with the help of our institutions, we will achieve the objective of adopting appropriate measures for the sector.
- Construction companies express a certain pessimism regarding the situation.
Quite a few companies already have all their activity stopped, either by the administration or by instructions from the safety coordinators and the optional management.
Added to these stoppages, the little activity due to the effects of the rain of March 24 that has once again hit the coastal area.
- The materials warehouse companies remain at the same level of activity compared to the previous day (March 24), when they reported an average decrease of 20-30% depending on the area.
- Extraction of aggregates, concretes and cements continue with low activity as a result of the rains of the previous day, although today the level of activity has improved somewhat.
- Failure to pay for certifications is becoming a structural problem because it affects all administrations that, with the suspension of deadlines approved by Royal Decree Law 8/2020, are withholding the payment of certifications, which is causing significant liquidity problems for companies.
- The lack of preventive material has given rise to 11 days from the start of the state of alarm to a greater number of stoppages of daily works due to the impossibility of guaranteeing the health of the workers.
- CNC and FIEC are passing the situation of the sector to the European Commission requesting the adoption of measures at the European level.
- SEOPAN, requests that the legal declaration to consider the effects of COVID_19 be force majeure for both public works contracts and concessions and that advance payments be authorized during the alarm period, to be deducted from future certifications.
FRECOM staff have successfully conducted 63 telephone surveys, in addition to the 170 surveys that were conducted in the past few days, and total 233 surveys.
Today, Tuesday, March 25, the SAI Covid_19, our Service of Attention and Information to the Sector, has responded by phone, email or whatsapp a total of 41 queries, the result of which is as follows:
- Some works are being paralyzed by the safety coordinators due to the lack of protection measures and unilateral interpretation of the regulations, assuming responsibility for said stoppage, although they do not have competence for it.
- There are isolated cases of absenteeism due to the worker's fear of contagion, without any cases of contagion being detected in the company.
This cause of absenteeism is not a cause of force majeure, to process an ERTE of these characteristics.
- After 11 days from the declaration of the state of alarm, no contagion has yet been detected, among the workers of the companies surveyed.
- There are entrepreneurs who do not know what to do with private works without starting.
They are undecided between starting the work or not starting it, foreseeing a possible cessation later on.
- There is pessimism due to the situation among employers.
Transportation costs and safety measures have increased, the pace of work has decreased due to the impossibility of concentrating all workers, the deadlines for execution are not going to be met and also the fear of contagion among workers generates insecurity.
- Many companies appreciate the effort of adaptation and responsibility that are being carried out by catering entrepreneurs, to facilitate food services to reach workers in our sector.
We consider it necessary to affirm, forcefully, that the measures that have been adopted by the National Government are not effective or are not applicable to companies in the construction sector.
As we have already listed in previous reports the measures that have been taken by the Government of Spain, we will cite in this report the measures that this committee considers necessary for the sector, without prejudice to the fact that, according to the evolution of the sector, we consider it necessary to add more measures. :
Suspend the works in progress, without penalties, when the companies cannot comply with the required health and safety measures for the workers.
Also, if you cannot develop the activity, due to lack of supply.
Coupled with the previous point, consider force majeure these suspensions or stoppages so that the ERTE provided for in article 22 of RD Law 8/2020 can be raised since the shortage of these security measures are circumstances beyond the control of the company.
It is the only way to guarantee the permanence of the company and employment.
Provide companies with the security measures and rapid coronavirus tests that they are forced to adopt as a consequence of the pandemic, given that the State does not want to paralyze the activity and said security measures are the consequence of a health emergency situation and not of the risks inherent in construction.
Extend the deadlines for tax self-assessments and informative declarations and speed up the deferrals of tax debts for all companies, not only for SMEs that bill less than 6 million euros.
Likewise, that the terms of the Income Tax and the Corporation Tax be modified.
Temporarily not paying the payment of the business contribution of Social Security contributions by workers to companies that continue to carry out their activity and comply with security measures.
Not doing so, implies that the suspension of jobs is favored over the maintenance of employment, giving greater advantages to the cessation of activity and the suspension of employment contracts compared to those companies that can continue to provide their services for not being included in the RD 463/2020.
Do not charge the March quota to the self-employed or any other until the state of alarm ends.
The suspension of the payment of the fee must mean not paying the fee, in no case is it an appropriate measure to collect it and then return it automatically.
Advance the VAT refund for the duration of the alarm status.