The practical application of the new standard on air conditioning will have a limited impact, especially in the hotel industry. Yesterday, the Minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, recognized the difficulty of extending the royal decree to bars and restaurants since, since there are workers in non-sedentary jobs, labor legislation requires them to carry out their activity with a temperature at least 25 degrees. Not 27 as provided for in the royal decree approved on Monday.
The application of the royal decree will be from Tuesday the 9th. Doubts about the way in which it will be applied are increasing since the legal text does not give too many details. Yesterday, the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge insisted that bars, restaurants and cafeterias must apply the 27-degree refrigeration limitation except for the exceptions provided for by labor law. What happens is that those exceptions are enormous in the sector. Sources from the Labor Inspection explain that all waiter positions are considered non-sedentary, so that in the space in which their activity is carried out, the temperature must be 25 degrees. This means that in practice the rule is practically inapplicable in bars, restaurants and cafes.
In an interview on Onda Cero, Minister Ribera replied that in these establishments they can limit the use of air conditioning to "around 25 degrees", taking into account the recommendations of the labor legislation. The person in charge of the royal decree on energy saving clarified that 27 degrees will be applied "with flexibility" and gave as an example that discos, kitchens and gyms need a different temperature than other spaces such as a bookstore. "You cannot ask workers who are in conditions of important physical exercise that they do not have the conditions that labor law guarantees with respect to the maximum and minimum temperatures," she said.
The ministry reported a few days ago that the rule was not applied in schools, universities, nurseries, health and hospital centers, hairdressers, gyms, the means of transport itself (trains, planes, buses or ships), laundries or the rooms of the hotels. But there are many other areas in which there are doubts.
For example in trade. Those employees who have an activity that does not allow them to be seated or without moving are considered non-sedentary jobs, for which the 25-degree limit rule applies. It could be the case of a shoe saleswoman who moves boxes continuously during her working day. The ministry clarified that businesses and establishments must justify when they do not apply the temperature limit on the thermostat.
Ribera pointed out that this first package of measures is designed for buildings for public use "with flexibilities" depending on the type of economic activity and the work carried out. “The decree law itself incorporates a call that wherever there are spaces where workers have to move and have physical exercise, it must be applied with the corresponding flexibility,” he specified.
The unions explain that only through an evaluation of the occupational risks of each job can the type of consideration of a position be determined and, therefore, the maximum temperature. There is no list of activities considered sedentary and other light. The Ministry of Labor explained yesterday that it does not have a closed list of jobs considered sedentary or light.
Another of the fronts with the Ministry for the Ecological Transition is the one opened on Thursday by the Cedecarne meat employers regarding temperatures in butcher shops and delicatessens because they defend the prevalence of food safety regulations. Sources from the business association explained that in the areas where meat is handled, the temperature should not exceed 12 degrees, while an ambient temperature of 18 degrees is recommended in the rest of the areas.
Where the application is a priori simpler is in "administrative areas, including floors or office areas, general lobbies and public use areas", as detailed by the ministry.
It also affects public spaces such as theaters, cinemas, auditoriums, congress centers, exhibition halls and the like, establishments for public entertainment and recreational activities, stations and airports.