Beach kiosks Formentera 2024


Update and Summary

Vista desde el Kiosko de Bartolo en Es Copinar, Migjorn

Formentera, March 26, 2024
In an atmosphere of growing tension, the Consell de Formentera finds itself immersed in an institutional conflict that reflects internal divisions among the members of the government team. On one hand, the councillors of Sa Unió (PP + Compromís) and the current president of the Consell, Llorenç Córdoba, who was the head of the list and candidate, obtained an absolute majority to govern the island just over 9 months ago.
This confrontation has exposed very serious rifts in the unity of the island government, leading to accusations of blackmail, as well as the dismissal by Córdoba of a member of his government team, Jose Manuel Alcaraz.

On the other hand, the pending decision regarding the allocation of beach kiosks has triggered a series of tensions in various social and business sectors of Formentera. With the deadline of May 26 looming, divergent interpretations of the results of the competition, which began in November 2021, have heightened discrepancies and fueled debates about transparency and fairness in the selection process. Faced with this uncertain panorama, the resolution of the Insular Council is eagerly awaited, while the island remains on edge with the imminent start of the tourist season.

Top-rated companies in the contest
demand transparency

In February 2024, seven out of the eight highest-rated companies in the Formentera beach kiosk contest expressed their concern over the lack of transparency and the stagnation in the contract allocation process. Through a statement registered with the Insular Council, these companies requested information about the reasons behind the prolonged waiting period, which has exceeded two years since its start in November 2021.

Juanjo Costa, a representative of one of these companies, expressed his perplexity over the lack of progress during an interview with Radioilla, describing the situation as opaque and lacking clarity. Although the contracting board had announced the top-rated proposals for the allocation of lots, the process had not yet been finalized, leading to speculation about possible political motivations behind the delay.

Furthermore, Juanjo Costa recalled the conditions established by the Dirección General de Costas to the Formentera Council in May 2023, stipulating the installation of the new beach kiosks by May 26, 2024. Faced with the possibility that the former managers continue to exploit the concessions, the top-rated companies in the contest warned that they would take legal and precautionary measures to protect their interests.

In a letter addressed to the Council, the legal advisor of the companies, Francisco Javier Jiménez de Cisneros Cid, highlighted the potential civil and criminal liabilities that could fall upon the political and technical officials of the Council for the paralysis of the contest. The option proposed by the Council to initiate a new contest was also mentioned, which was met with criticisms and legal warnings from the affected companies.

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Beach kiosk workers in Formentera
expose their job uncertainty

During the same month of March, several employees with labor contracts with the former kiosk concessionaires wanted to make known their job uncertainty situation in front of Radioilla’s microphones, expressing their concern about the future of their jobs due to the stagnation of the beach kiosk contest that has been underway since late 2021 and has not yet been resolved.

These workers, who have fixed-term discontinuous labor contracts, pointed out the lack of clarity on the part of the Formentera Council regarding their job situation in relation to the beach kiosk contest. They stated that the contest’s paralysis in 2022 prevented them from working for six months of the season, which generated even more concern about the stability of their jobs and salaries.

Additionally, they emphasized that the tender documents did not address the continuity of the staff, despite the importance of their work and their rights as workers. When consulted sources related to the former kiosk managers and the highest-rated companies in the contest, the possibility of applying worker substitution was raised to ensure their job continuity.

On the other hand, the workers emphasized that the number of workers proposed in the projects of the highest-rated companies in the contest would make it unfeasible to comply with the worker agreement in the hospitality sector.

Faced with this situation, the workers questioned how this substitution would be carried out if the new proposals for kiosk management involve a reduction in staff numbers. Likewise, they expressed concern and doubts about the viability of ensuring continuous service during all daylight hours with a reduced staff.

Former kiosk concessionaires warn of potential lawsuits

The rejection by former kiosk concessionaires of the possibility of management being awarded to new participants in the 2022 contest took on a more forceful tone on March 19th when one of the former concessionaires issued a clear warning on a live program on Radioilla Formentera. They stated their response if the Consell’s Governing Board decides to award the management of these establishments to the highest-scoring participants in the mentioned contest.

This warning of criminal action would be based on recent statements by President Llorenç Córdoba, who reportedly stated that a report commissioned from the University and Business Foundation of UIB advises against such allocation.

According to the former concessionaire, this “official” report should be decisive in the Consell’s decisions, as, according to him, there is no other report that contradicts it. However, it should be noted that this report is not binding, as stated by the radio program host.

In any case, the former concessionaires warn that, if the allocation is carried out, they will file a criminal complaint immediately.

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Córdoba’s second (failed) attempt
before the Governing Board


After an initial meeting of the Governing Board on March 22nd, the Sa Unió councilors, members of the government team of the Consell de Formentera, voted again against the proposal of the Corporation’s president, Llorenç Córdoba, presented at the urgent Governing Board meeting on Monday, March 25th, where the allocation of the contest for the eight beach kiosks of Formentera was debated.
This decision by the members of Sa Unió, from which Córdoba was expelled just a month ago, marks an unprecedented event in local democracy, once again highlighting the internal divisions within the government team.

The president’s proposal was to declare the contest void, despite having eight companies ranked highest by the tender board. In contrast, Sa Unió argues that following the technical criteria of the tender board would guarantee the continuity of the process and the availability of kiosks for the 2024 season.

The Sa Unió councilors warned of the legal risks of the president’s proposal, stating that it could lead to an indefensible criminal lawsuit against all members of the Governing Board. They questioned the legal and technical basis of Córdoba’s proposal, highlighting the lack of sufficient motivation in the legal report presented by the president of the Consell, who is also responsible for the Litoral Department.
Furthermore, the members of Sa Unió criticized the lack of grounds regarding applicable labor regulations and the absence of case law supporting the decision to declare the kiosk lots deserted.

Ultimately, Sa Unió argues that the president’s proposal lacks clarity regarding the public interest and does not adequately address the labor and external services contracting implications.
Given these discrepancies within the government team, the decision on the future of Formentera’s beach kiosks remains at a standstill.

Statements by Llorenç Córdoba to the press

At the end of the Governing Board meeting, the president of the Formentera Council, Llorenç Córdoba, pointed out the Sa Unió councilors for what he considers an obstacle in the process of awarding the beach kiosk contest, highlighting a blockade by his former government colleagues.

Córdoba expressed his concern about this situation, emphasizing that his proposal to declare the contest void is backed by solid technical reports. However, he lamented the lack of trust from Sa Unió in the government team and institution staff.

The president stated that, despite the blockade, he will seek other avenues to ensure the presence of beach kiosks during the 2024 summer season, although he did not specify what this new strategy will be.

Córdoba also expressed concern about the impact this situation is having on his role at the helm of the institution, stating that the actions of Sa Unió do not benefit either the Council or the citizens of Formentera.

Faced with the lack of progress in the Governing Board, Córdoba assured that he will continue to seek legal alternatives to guarantee the provision of the service during the summer. He affirmed that he is doing everything possible to overcome the blockade and find a solution that meets the island’s needs.

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