July 19, 2024 | 10:21

Bizkaia

Petition to stop the ambulance services contract in Aste Nagusia

Petition to stop Grup La Pau's ambulance services contract in Aste Nagusia

Jeickson Sulbaran

June 17, 2024 | 1:30 pm

The LSB-USB union has filed an appeal against the award to Grup La Pau for the management of the healthcare service at the Aste Nagusia festivals

In the last few hours, the LSB-USB union has presented an appeal with the aim of stopping the award of the contract to the Catalan company Grup La Pau to manage the first aid healthcare service at the Aste Nagusia festivities in Bilbao. This contract, valued at 261.800 euros for the years 2024 and 2025, has been the subject of controversy due to a sanction proposal "very serious" imposed on the company by the Labor Inspection. According to current regulations, companies with sanctions of this nature cannot access public contracts, equating them to cases of corruption.

The role of Grup La Pau in the ambulance service in Euskadi

Grup La Pau is the main contractor of the ambulance service in the Basque Health Service (Osakidetza). Manages both scheduled and urgent services in Álava and Bizkaia, with a significant participation in contracts amounting to around 280 million euros in total, which translates to approximately 50 million annually. This May, the financing of the scheduled service was going to be renewed with a 24% increase in the public allocation, but UGT appealed this decision based on the state's exclusion of companies with "very serious" sanctions from receiving new contracts.

Petition to stop Grup La Pau's ambulance services contract in Aste Nagusia

The Administrative Body for Contractual Resources (OARC) of the Basque Government accepted the precautionary suspension of the new contract, a precedent that LSB-USB has used to request the suspension of the award in Bilbao. The union center argues that Osakidetza recognizes that this situation could prohibit the successful bidder from contracting, urging the Bilbao City Council to act in the same way.

Financial and labor problems at Grup La Pau

Grup La Pau has decided to unilaterally apply a "relief" of the agreement, reducing salaries by 12,5% ​​per month until autumn, justifying this measure in an alleged "technical bankruptcy." Losses of 5 million euros are mentioned and a forecast of reaching 9 million by the end of the year if the situation does not improve. According to LSB-USB, andThis situation prevents the company from meeting the financial solvency requirements necessary to provide the service in Bilbao.. Furthermore, the lack of staff with an indefinite contract available to work during the holidays stands out, since all permanent professionals are assigned to Osakidetza and would not be able to perform these functions.

The emergency contract for Aste Nagusia was promoted by the Festivities area of ​​the Bilbao City Council, directed by Itziar Urtasun of the PNV. The only company that submitted to the public tender was Grup La Pau, a Catalan cooperative with about 1.700 employees, of which 1.200 are in Bizkaia and Álava.

Perspectives and defense of Grup La Pau

Jordi Alonso, vice president and financial director of Grup La Pau, stated in an interview that the “very serious” sanction wasor is firm, so the company can continue bidding and executing contracts. He alleges that the "very serious" rating is exaggerated and that it is due to minimal delays in payroll payment, something refuted by the unions. In addition, the Labor Inspection has issued 22 "serious" infractions to Grup La Pau in the last year.

LSB-USB hopes that the OARC will consider these arguments and decide to halt the awarding of the contract in Bilbao, ensuring that the healthcare service in Aste Nagusia is managed by a company with no history of serious sanctions.

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