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Local health workers get Formentera's gold medal for 2017

foto diada formentera 0179At 8.30pm this evening, the Formentera Council held its official Diada de Formentera celebration. The gala honoured individuals or groups determined by unanimous vote in CiF plenary to be worthy of distinction.

2017's gold medal (la Medalla d'Or) went to Formentera's community of professional health workers. The award salutes the work of individuals employed in a diverse array of positions like support, treatment, care and wellbeing, not least for their work and dedication as executors of the universal right to health.

Sant Jaume awards
Three Sant Jaume awards (premis) were also handed out. Pilar Castelló Ramon (Sant Joan de Labritja, 1953), for one, was praised for her work in the public sector. After holding the distinction as the first career civil servant in Formentera's local administration, Castelló worked for 25 years as a teacher, speech therapist and director Mestre Lluis Andreu primary school prior to retirement.

The accolade was also given to Club Dojo Formentera in recognition for their efforts introducing martial arts on the island. After starting with judo in 1982, the dojo grew to include aikido, jujitsu, karate and kendo, keeping their focus fixed on values like personal improvement, camaraderie and hard work.

La Fonda Rafalet, a family-run inn with more than sixty years of uninterrupted service, came away with the evening's third Sant Jaume prize, a celebration of the Rafalet crew's ability, generation after generation, to adapt to the changing needs of an evolving brand of tourism.

Adoptive son
This year's adoptive son honour was given to Manu San Félix (Madrid, 1964). In addition to his research and dissemination work on underwater environments, and a career that includes reporting and professional photography, San Félix, a biologist, was commended for his efforts to raise awareness about protecting posidonia meadows.

Official address
A closing address by the chairman of the Council highlighted the fortuitousness of coinciding with the administration's ten-year anniversary this year.

On that note, Jaume Ferrer noted the event shared a birthday with another local institution, the Formentera hospital. To the CiF chair, “this is really a case where we can talk about a before and after in terms of variety and quality in locally available healthcare services”. Urging audience members to look back at past Medalla d'Or honourees, Ferrer said this year's awards were a chance to “recognise all the people who have toiled to strengthen what has often been an under-resourced service” and “everyone who has worked, and who continues to work, to improve medical care on our island”.

After thanking each of the evening's honourees, Ferrer took the chance to highlight another banner event this year: 2017 is the year of sustainable tourism. The CiF chair stressed the need to preserve Formentera's undersea environment, calling it “the most profitable investment we can make”.

Miquel Tur and Júlia Benevelli's musical duo Sweet Lure closed the evening gala. This year, the official Diada de Formentera graphics were upgraded to mark the Formentera Council's tenth anniversary.

Today marks end of Formentera's development consortium

Foto reunio cfdAt noon today, Friday, July 21, the executive board of Formentera's development consortium (CFd) convened for the last time in the assembly hall of the Formentera Council. Administration chair Jaume Ferrer and chief secretary to the chairman, Bartomeu Escandell, emerged afterward to give statements to the press.

Jaume Ferrer explained that the assembled group of CiF members, Govern office holders and representatives of the Eivissa Council had gathered to disband the CFd definitively. As he pointed out, that end game had been achieved by the meeting's closing.

The Formentera Council will now assume control of the CFd's management and subrogate any of the group's assets and obligations. The Council has got until December 31, 2019 to invest the €4 million in the CFd's reserves. That spending is to involve heritage acquisitions, environment and sport infrastructure and urban area upgrades.

The defunct group leaves behind a number of outstanding debts. Payment of one, valued at €5.1m, will become responsibility of the Govern balear. A second debt, of €1.9m, will be split between the Balearic administration (70%) and the Formentera Council (30%).

Councillor Escandell called the CFd's dissolution “part of an effort to streamline local government”.

Core CFd activities
Created in 2001 to bring under one roof funding from both the Govern balear and the Eivissa and Formentera administrations, the development group sought to use investment to reduce Formentera's infrastructural deficit.

As Chairman Ferrer recalled, the group focussed on purchasing land—including the plots now occupied by the Formentera hospital, the Ses Bardetes children's park, the barracks of the Guardia Civil and the plaça de la Constitució expansion in Sant Francesc— as well as street upgrades in Sant Ferran (carrer Major), Es Pujols (carrer Xaloc), la Savina (carrer Ponent) and the Porto-Salè neighbourhood.

The first local body to subsidise repairs of dry-stone walls and other homegrown trademarks, the CFd also bankrolled initiatives to bury overhead utility lines. The Council has already reserved part of its 2017 budget allocations for subsidies of heritage-related improvements.

Presentation of plan to tackle precarious employment on Formentera

Foto presentacio pla lluitaThe Balearic Islands' chief of employment, social economy and health in the workplace presented a plan to combat job insecurity on Formentera this summer. As Isabel Castro introduced the Pla contra la Precarietat en el Treball (“plan to combat precariousness in employment”) in the multipurpose room of the Formentera Council, she was joined by the CiF's third vice-chairwoman and land and tourism secretary, Alejandra Ferrer.

Castro praised the Council for its collaboration on the initiative, which entails accommodation for inspectors, allowing them to conduct nighttime checks. As part of the plan, two extra agents will be dispatched in July and tasked with 80 additional tasks to bolster inspections of temporary and part-time job contracts.

Councillor Ferrer brought to mind the administration's longstanding calls to equip labour inspectors with more latitude to expand checks to cover work in the fields.

According to Castro, the action plan aims to assure quality employment in two ways. First, by pursuing indefinite contracts for employees in positions whose temporary status is deemed unjustified, and second, by homing in on cases where workers are under part-time contract but completing full-time work.

This year's Pla contra la Precarietat is the third so far by the Govern's ministry of labour, trade and industry and the results have already proved the plan's worth. In the two years since it was enacted, 560 local workers have seen their situations improve through reclassified temporary contracts, expanded workdays and new contract creation.

In 2016 alone 361 temporary contracts—more than one in three—were revised into indefinite ones. Thirty-seven workers saw their workday extended.

In two years, the plan has secured improved employment conditions for 9,500 residents in the Balearic Islands.

At the presentation it was also recalled that labour checks are conducted year-round on Formentera, although they are expanded for a part of summer.

New push to promote public health vocabulary highlights quality distinction for local medical care

Salut 2017 baixaIn a nod to the gold-medal honour awarded to the island's community of medical care providers, the Formentera Council's language advisory service has teamed up with the chamber of commerce and the Pityusic small and medium-sized business group on a new outreach push. The initiative entailed design and printing of a number of posters unpacking various health-related terms. As in years past, the posters will be handed out at local shops and offices of the Council and will spotlight peculiarities and the etymology of words like guarir, salut, morbo, malaltia and infermer/a. As CiF education and culture secretary Susana Labrador explained, “the initiative seeks to highlight an important selection of words used in medical care,” something she asserted was “particularly significant given the key role such care has played for the people of Formentera”. The posters explore twelve concepts and can be requested at the Citizen's Information Office (OAC).

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