Protest blackout in the Central Market: "With what I pay for electricity I could hire someone"
Despite the fact that only a few seconds before a public address message warned that it was an act of protest, more than one customer was perplexed to notice how, one by one, all the stalls of the Mercat Central de Tarragona were turning off their lights. Some even stopped the activity, which led merchants and customers to end up talking about a situation that more than one qualified with the same word: “unsustainable”.
Although the natural light prevented the building from going completely dark, the image of the stalls in the dark, at a time of great influx, was impressive, as an older woman who asked what was going on acknowledged. Explaining that the market had joined the initiative 'Without light there is no commerce' (which led to turning off the lights in businesses throughout the State) the woman pointed out that "I give them all my support, I don't know how they are doing it" .
Montserrat Bertran, president of the Associació de Paradistes explained that they had decided to join this gesture because the rise in electricity threatens the survival of their businesses. She says that they wanted to show “the collective alarm that we have in small businesses. If there is no measure we will not get ahead. We have serious problems to reach the end of the month many stops...The electricity bill has quadrupled. With what we pay more we could have someone dispatching », she calculates.
He explained that, in general, traders have had to raise prices, but not to the extent that supplies and goods have increased. "We are tired of customers always paying the price, we need action to be taken now," he said.
Jaume Pedascoll, from the La Selecta chicken derivatives stand, listed everything that depends on electricity in his business: a refrigerated display case ten meters long, the cold rooms, the workshop... If you previously paid 300 euros for electricity, now the bill exceeds 1,200. The prices of what they sell have risen, but they cannot pass on, not even remotely, the increase in spending on customers "at this rate people will not be able to buy food," he lamented.
The perspective is that Christmas encourages sales, but the worst will come in January "many small businesses are not going to hold out," he predicts.
Among the measures requested by merchants at the state level is a reduction in the VAT tax rate that is applied to the electricity bill from 21% to 4% and a 50% discount on Social Security contributions until the end of spring. They also ask for a bonus of 100% of the self-employed quotas until the end of spring and the granting of direct aid to all companies.