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Old 10-11-2018, 06:50 PM
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Default Canarian Weekly:

TENERIFE Cabildo is waving goodbye to its three casinos, for an asking price of 29.9m euros or more. But several unions, including the Spanish General Workers? Union, are concerned about the future of the 100-plus staff at the establishments.

The island?s authorities have launched a tender for selling off Tenerife?s publicly-owned casinos. But the 121 employees, who fear their jobs may not even last the two more years they have promised when the casinos are sold, are threatening strike action.

Cabildo President Carlos Alonso Rodr?guez insists: ?We have very clear priorities, which are to concentrate all our efforts on actions and projects to improve the lives of Tenerife?s residents.

?We want to withdraw from those which are not priorities, or are not appropriate for a public administration, as is the case with the casinos.?

In addition to the 24.9m-euro starting price for Casinos de Tenerife, bidders will have to present a tourist investment project, worth at least 4.5m euros, for either Adeje, Puerto de la Cruz or Santa Cruz, where the casinos are located.

It must be developed within a four-year period and linked to the respective casino, although other tourist amenities may be included.

The tender specifications also insist that the new operator retains the entire staff, for at least two years.

Following the 24th September publication of the tender, interested companies were given a 45-day window to submit their initial applications.

Once these have been reviewed, legally and financially, which is expected to take a month, the companies will then have a further four-month period to submit their complete bids.

But the Spanish General Workers? Union (UGT) has urged the Cabildo to call off the tender, because ?the privatisation of the casinos is not justified, under any circumstances?.

A spokesperson for UGT said: ?It is not logical that the Cabildo has put Tenerife?s casinos on sale for a value of almost 25m euros.

?It is based on a price assessment that has not taken into consideration other variables, which would, significantly, increase the value of the casinos.?

The trade union also said the two-year employment guarantee was ?totally unacceptable and, without a doubt, the prelude to a conflict?.

Both the UGT and Julio Concepci?n, a councillor for the left-wing Podemos party, have alleged that a number of unrelated public works have been charged to Casinos de Tenerife, which would explain the company?s losses in recent years.

In July, Concepci?n filed a complaint with the Commission for Government Transparency in the Canary Islands (Comisionado de Transparencia del Gobierno de Canarias), protesting about the Cabildo?s refusal to release documents regarding the casinos? administration.

?The failure to deliver the requested files obstructs an independent audit,? he said. ?These documents are key in clarifying matters related to the ruinous management of Casinos P?blicos de Tenerife.?

Last year, Concepci?n claimed that previous independent audits, carried out on the three properties between 2012 to 2014, had uncovered a number of anomalies in the venues? accounts.

The councillor, who described those anomalies as ?impermissible in public companies?, contends that they have, negatively, affected the casinos? profitability.

As an example of the alleged mismanagement, he revealed that in 2017, Casino Playa de Las Americas invested 342,000 euros in building an Adeje pumping station.

This, he argued, had nothing to do with the property?s corporate purpose.

The proposal to privatise the island?s casinos was first unveiled in May 2013, while Alonso Rodr?guez was serving as Tourism Minister.

The following year, with him at the helm by this time, the Cabildo moved forward with these plans, holding a licence tender for Casino Playa de Las Americas.

However, the property failed to attract any bidders, while the sale drew strong resistance from both opposition councillors and union officials.
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