Around 200 workers protested in front of the Town Hall in Playa Flamenca recently in
response to the early closure of the beach bars and the facilities they provided to the local
community and holidaymakers. The demonstrators called for the immediate restoration of
jobs on the beaches and the resumption of the beach services until the new contract for
services is awarded.
The workers feel they are being punished due to the ‘evident mismanagement by the
Orihuela town council which was caused by a misinterpretation of the contract for the
concession of beach services in Orihuela Costa’.
On the placards they carried the workers claim they are the solution to the provision of
the services on the beach of Orihuela – which includes: beach bars, toilets, umbrella and
sunbeds, recreational and nautical activities – because they want to work and provide
these services for people.
In a statement issued by the local workers group said: “The absence of these services is
causing significant damage for residents, tourists and businessmen in the area, apart from
bringing about the loss of more than 100 jobs that were covered by the concessionaire
company.
“In addition, the decision taken by the town council endangers the launching of such
services on the beaches of Orihuela cost in the summer of 2018, since the time required
by the new award process leaves the new awarded company without enough time to
develop the service. Consequently, this will generate a huge financial loss for the town and
it would be a serious blow for tourism, which is the economic engine of the area.”
The protest came hot on the heels of a press conference held in Orihuela City where
Councillor Luisa Bone announced that there is still no certainty that the beach bars and
services will be in place for Summer 2018. The councillor said that Orihuela Council
approved the specifications for the seasonal beach services contract, which includes the
beach bars.
The councillor alongside her colleague Francisco Sáez explained that the specifications
include the beach bars, sunshades, hammocks, pedalos, water sport boards and jet skis.
This new contract increases the amount the company must pay the Town Hall from
€300,000 to €500,000 per year and it has a duration of four years, and can be extended by
another two.
They explained the municipal secretary ruled it did not qualify to be considered urgent
because the change of contract was foreseeable, so the Town Hall could not give a day
when the beach services might reopen, “because it depends on the process and the
companies that make offers”, said Boné, although they hope it will all be ready for the
summer.
She noted the design for the beach bars, toilets and pergolas will be similar to the lifeguard
huts “to improve the image of the beaches and homogenise all the installations”.
These will not be ready until 2019 so for the 2018 season the winning company can use
whatever they propose as long as the Town Hall approves.
The specifications require 11 beach bars and 9 toilets each with men’s, women’s and
disabled rooms. There will also have to be another 9 disabled toilets on the Blue Flag
beaches.

Each beach bar must have a defibrillator and the workers must be trained to use them. Boné
explained the space allowed for sunshades and hammocks at Cala Bosque (La Zenia) will be
reduced from 800m2 to 520m2.
Sáez said that from Friday companies had been given 20 days to present their offers and
then the evaluation can begin. He also said three municipal technicians will supervise the
contract, the finalisation date is December 31st 2021, and 55 percent of the evaluation
criteria are objective and 45 percent subjective. Finally he thanked the technicians “for
working so quickly to get the specifications ready in record time”.