“H&M” to open in Funchal. Libertad departs. Major employment law changes. Strawberry World.

I wanted to leave Jon’s moving story (see previous post) at the top of the blog for as long as possible, but time to move on and catch up on a few news items. Thanks again Jon! Approaching 1400 unique visits illustrates the interest that the “guest post” attracted (obviously much more interesting than my usual rubbish – including the first item below which I wasn’t going to mention but my “better half” thinks is exciting!)

“H&M” to open in Funchal as work restarts at the Rotunda.

The work on the old building of the ‘Minas Gerais’ near the rotunda do Infante, resumed this week after several delays and embargoes. The news today is the first page of the print edition of the Diario, which reveals that the international brand of ready to wear clothing H & M will open a shop in the building.

H & M is the second largest worldwide group of ready-made garments and plans to occupy the newly renovated building in the first quarter of 2013. The contract is valid for 25 years and the project will create 60 jobs.


Prominent in the port of Funchal this week, The Argentine training ship ‘Libertad’ is leaving Madeira today.

On board are 329 people, seen around Funchal perfectly turned out in their white uniforms. The ship arrived from La Guaira (Venezuela) and will sail to Lisbon on a journey that began six months and ends in Buenos Aires (Argentina)

Major employment law changes

Cutting in half the amount paid for overtime, and the reduction by four of the number of holidays and vacation days are some of the key changes to employment legislation came into force on August 1. Overtime hours will be cheaper and the workers no longer be entitled to compensatory rest in days of extraordinary work .

The changes to labour law is enshrined in the MoU signed between Portugal and the ‘troika’ (European Central Bank, European Commission and International Monetary Fund) and also arise from the Commitment for Growth, Competitiveness and Employment concluded on 18 January 2012 between the Portuguese Government and social partners, with the exception of CGTP.

The main changes:
– Cut by half the amount paid for overtime: In the first overtime, the amount payable will increase by 25% (against the current 50%) and 37.5% in the following hours (versus the current 70%). If additional work is carried out at the weekend or holiday, the worker earns only 50% compared to the current 100%;
– Overtime no longer gives the right to compensatory rest, which currently represents 25% of each hour of overtime (15 minutes)
– Reduction of four holidays: Corpus Christi (movable holiday), August 15, October 5 and December 1;
– The Portuguese will no longer enjoy the 25 days annual leave and come to enjoy only 22 (I don’t know how this tallies with the reduction by four in the “headline announcement?)

Strawberry World

We have to be careful what we say here because no official announcement has been made by the company or any administrators. However the various hotel groups statements can be found here:






The websites operated by Strawberry World are:
www.madeira-portugal.com (and any combination www.HOTELNAME.madeira-portugal.com, i.e.www.portosantamaria.madeira-portugal.com);

The Parliamentary Specialized Economy, Finance and Tourism meets today at 10am.

The agenda for this meeting is a request for a parliamentary hearing by Regional Secretary for Culture, Tourism and Transport on “the problems occurring in the tourism sector with the travel agency "Strawberry World" and subsequent threats to the Regional Government and hoteliers in the Autonomous Region of Madeira”.

18 thoughts on ““H&M” to open in Funchal. Libertad departs. Major employment law changes. Strawberry World.”

  1. Thanks Admin, Martin and to EveryBody else……but indeed, time to move on and forwards. …… ALL kind comments appreciated and valued.

    Wot Rubbish posts Admin? All good to me….including H&M!

    Watched the Libertad depart, sadly not under sail, Bon Voyage.

    Warm again then……watch the sun – best from a hammock in the shade at 2 p.m. –
    and enjoy Madeira, it’s peoples, scenery, climate, food and drink = cheers all!

  2. I have added a photo to the post above Martin – it’s the roundabout at the end of Avenida Arriaga and the start of of Av. do Infante – at the bottom of Santa Catarina Park and above Marina shopping.

  3. checking in from santana on my sons kindle which has free 3g internet, slow but works! Mrs has heard that a fire she saw yesterday on the way to Machico has become quite bad today, I hope that it is ok. Some gossip from the brother in law that Sa will be Aldi or Lidl (not sure which – language barrier intervened) within max 2 months.

  4. MailOnline article published on 11th August:

    British tourists pushed to claim on travel cover as they are denied free care by Spanish hospitals.

    —-Christiane Burniston, managing director of Chargecare International, a firm which advises insurers on the validity of medical claims, said: ‘It is happening more and more. It is starting to happen in Madeira too.’

  5. meddical care is not free for british tourists but is paid for by the NHS under reciprocal arrangements between national govts. This would suggest that the Spanish govt is not paying the money back to Spanish hospitals for care given.

  6. I read the Mail article in the paper today and was concerned. We are both healthy and would not expect to be unwell on holiday but have felt re-assured by the EHIC arrangements as although we have insurance getting really ill is a worry. When you are ill suddenly it can be difficult to make the right decisions. For example a couple of years ago my wife had a bladder infection and went to the Doctor in the Monumental under local advice believing his clinic was under the health scheme. The cost was reasonable in the circumstances and we no know about the Saude.
    Separately best wishes to Jon and Debs. I pray all is OK for them personally and from a business perspective

  7. There are various rules that differ between the hospital and health centres, emergencies and non emergencies, and locals / residents / visitors.

    Get it wrong and you may have to pay, but a genuine emergency is theoretically exempt, but the system is geared up to claim reimbursement of incurred costs where such an option exists (through the EC card or insurance).

  8. There are various rules that differ between the hospital and health centres, emergencies and non emergencies, and locals / residents / visitors.

    Get it wrong and you may have to pay, but a genuine emergency is theoretically exempt, and the system is geared up to claim reimbursement of incurred costs where such an option exists (through the EC card or insurance).

  9. Thank You David. All is indeed O.K. for us now personally and we currently have a Lady from France staying with us ….. up and running once more – not without the help of the local community.

    Indeed the local Centro De Saude provides us with a good service and The Madeira Medical Centre (Funchal) provides a comprehensive private alternative – ALL services “in house”. And the Island has benefited from an improved Ambulance/Rapid Response service with some recently renovated health centres……have a good Holiday!

  10. from dnoticias Porto Santo at ‘extreme’ UV

    Porto Santo is today with an “extreme value” of ultraviolet radiation, so people should avoid exposure to the sun, reports the Institute of Meteorology (IM).

    The same source, the 27 regions analyzed by IM, 13 will have a value of ‘very high’ of ultraviolet (UV), with rates between eight and 10.

    With the level of ‘very high’, MI recommends the use of sunglasses with UV filter, cap, t-shirts, umbrellas and sunscreen, noting also that one should avoid children’s exposure to the sun

    Ultraviolet radiation can cause serious damage to health if the level exceeds the safety limits, according to information available in ‘site’ of the IM.

    The index has five levels of this radiation, between the ‘low’ and ‘extreme’, the maximum being 11.

  11. Pleased for you both Jon and Debs.
    Just a touch further on the EHIC matter. With both the Doctor appointment and collecting the prescription from a Funchal pharmacy we were required to present the EHIC card which was duly noted on our receipts. When we got home we therefore confidently applied for our refund only to be told months later that we had gone ‘private’!!

  12. Great to hear Jon and Debs are back in business. My husband and I were in Madeira at the time of the fires and were very saddened when we saw some of the damage to property, and the landscape. Thankfully not too many people hurt.

  13. My wife’s broken arm was dealt with, ambulance, emergency x ray and plastering all at no cost on presentation of our health card. Its a bit chaotic. But they care.
    It is assumed the rest of the treatment (aftercare) needed, will be done back in the “holidaymaker’s” home country.
    Minor ailments are best dealt with in the private system as the hospital triage system puts non emergency cases at the back of the queue even having arrived first. After 4 hours wait last time I got fed up seeing all the blood and gore around me and went to Clinica de Se.
    20 Euros and in and out in 10 minutes.
    When or if we become resident do doubt we will be treated differently but if you can afford the reasonable private healthcare costs it frees the state system up for needy Madeirans.
    Dental work is excellent and a fraction of the cost in the UK.
    Denplan will even pay out for foreign emergency work.
    Post Office Travel Insurance would not pay out on an overnight stay for blood poisoning (on a drip) on the basis I had not yet booked a return trip.

    I had to take my wife the day after she broke her arm to the hospital for a rejig of her repairs.
    Because of the low sportscar we had at the time and she being reluctant to get in and out because it was painful, I decided on a taxi.
    Not knowing a phone number for a taxi we went to a local cafe to ask the owner to ring for us whilst we had another of his wonderful coffees.
    Seeing Maureen’s state he refused to get a taxi.
    Into his own car we went and he drove us to the door.
    No question of payment, just concern.
    Typical Madeiran!

  14. I have been writing to Portuguese and Madeiran government departments and also my MEPs (I have 9) bemoaning the lack of ferry to the Island.

    I point out that Madeira must be the only European controlled island without one.
    One MEP told me I was mistaken and there are lots of private ferries available.
    No government department has responded apart from The Tourist Office which said I will be informed if a ferry is reintroduced.
    The Anglo/Portuguese Chamber of Trade answered with the statement that there is no ferry to Madeira

    I believe our hopes for a ferry lie with Fred Olsen shipping lines.
    They operate in the Canaries and used to serve Madeira.
    They don’t respond to my correspondence on the matter.
    One department in Felixstowe suggested I buy a cruise which stops off at Madeira and buy another cruise for the return journey.
    I cannot afford it and they don’t carry vehicles.

  15. Martin, the changes in the Health Service charging system have all been in the last few months, with the new charge for non-emergencies in the hospital emergencies department being just a few weeks old. That’s s sort of money raising punitive charge to encourage people to go to their local health centre where possible.


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