MEN with children will now be entitled to receive an 'upgrade' in permanent disability pensions as well as women following a European Court of Justice ruling. A man from Girona who was left disabled was granted...
'Golden Teide Award' for Thomas Cook staff, human rights activist and university
By thinkSPAIN Team Sat, Nov 30, 2019
MAKING life easier and improving conditions for society, retaining cultural values and promoting the arts and sciences in the Canary Islands are rewarded every year by a Tenerife radio station: the Golden Teide Awards (Teide de Oro) go to three winners annually – one for an individual, another for a group, and a third to an institution.
Radio Club Tenerife-Cadena SER has announced this year's deserving winners, who will pick up their prizes in the Adán Martín Auditorium in Santa Cruz, the island's capital, in an awards ceremony starting at 20.30 on Friday, December 13.
Individual award: María Dolores Pelayo Duque
A dedicated lawyer and politician considered one of the 'Mothers of the Spanish Constitution' – drawn up in 1978 and enshrining inviolable human rights in law for the first time – and an indefatigable activist for women's rights, Radio Club Tenerife says: “We consider it especially opportune right now to highlight [María Dolores'] figure and her values in the current context, in which society in general is disillusioned with the mainstream political class.
“This rejection is because society considers its representatives do not come up to scratch when it comes to reaching agreements that allow them to protect our harmonious coexistence, democracy, and the foundations that support these.”
Born in Tenerife in 1943, María Dolores is a member of the PSOE (socialists) Federal Committee and was spokeswoman for the party in Santa Cruz de Tenerife city council from 1987 to 1991, was a senate in national Parliament representing Tenerife from 1977 to 1979 and MP for the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife from 1979 to 1996.
Highly-active in Parliamentary legislative debates – especially in family-related issues, given that she is a family solicitor by profession – it was largely María Dolores' work that led to the right to divorce becoming recognised in Spain; it had been illegal until 1982.
Profound alterations to the Civil Code spearheaded by Sra Pelayo Duque led to women's and men's rights in terms of family and inheritance becoming equal, and the rights of children to inheritance of their children, legitimate or not.
These amendments also set in stone parents' obligation to guarantee protection and the fulfilment of fundamental needs of their children, making them legally responsible for them until adulthood.
María Dolores led changes to the Criminal Code, too, and it was thanks to her campaigning that adultery and couples living together without being married ceased to be crimes.
Abortion and use of contraception were decriminalised, abortion regulation introduced, and sentences were set within the norms of the Constitution for crimes against sexual freedom, such as rape, abuse or assault.
She is also a member of the Canarian Women in Law Association and the 21st Century Club.
The second photograph shows her in 2006.
Institution award: La Laguna University
Radio Club Tenerife has chosen the college in San Cristóbal de la Laguna for this year's award for its role in 'training and educating generations of Canary Islanders since its founding in the year 1792'.
Also, its 'growing commitment to equality' is clear, says Radio Club Tenerife, since it has recently appointed the second female dean in its history – at a time when most universities in Spain have never yet had a woman in the top job.
None of the candidates for dean this time around were men, for the first time ever, and a high number of researchers and professors on campus are female.
The university currently has over 21,000 students, 13 faculties and schools, and offers over 200 degree qualifications.
Until 1989, it was the only university in the Canary Islands – its current name was given to it in 1927 through the same Royal Decree, or Bill of Law, which split the region into two provinces – but now it is one of two, with the other being the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, serving the second of the two provinces.
La Laguna came 446th in the world in last year's ranking and 13th in Spain, although it rose to 134 in the world for physics and sits in the unnumbered 401-500 bracket for maths and in the top 200 for medicine.
This year's US News & World Report placed La Laguna University as top in Spain for space sciences – largely helped by the massive telescope and observatory in the region, on the island of La Palma, and the presence of the Canarian Astrophysics Institute (IAC) – and number 53 out of 250 worldwide.
María Dolores Pelayo Duque (above) is among La Laguna University's alumni.
Group award: Thomas Cook employees
Radio Club Tenerife says Thomas Cook employees – a huge number of whom were based in the Canary Islands, one of the UK tour operator's largest destinations – 'received probably the biggest blow of their lives' after the firm collapsed overnight on September 23, leaving a total of 21,000 out of a job without warning.
Some of them, Radio Club Tenerife points out, had been working for the British travel company for over 20 years.
Reports in the UK press have since claimed that some of the board of directors are facing interrogation from MPs, at least two managers have started crowdfunding to help affected staff, Park UK offered them all a free holiday, and that many of those left without jobs have had to borrow money from parents to live and use food banks.
Now, though, husband-and-wife team John and Irene Hays, who own Hays Travel, have bought all 555 of Thomas Cook's high-street shops.
So far, it has opened 186 of these and offered jobs to 2,000 Thomas Cook staff out of the 9,000 based in the UK who were hit by the firm's sudden closure.
Staff, in some parts of the world, including Britain, were actually kicked out of their hotels the very morning the firm collapsed, and many more had no idea how they were going to get home.
But many UK-based branch employees went to work the next morning as usual, reps in resorts worldwide – including in the Canary Islands – donned their uniforms and went on duty, pilots and cabin crew reported for business as every day, all to help panicked tourists who had no idea what they were doing or how they would get home.
Reps mediated with hotels demanding the balance of holiday costs or payment for extra nights directly from customers who had already paid Thomas Cook in full for their trip, and handed out kleenex and reassuring words to those who were, quite understandably, becoming hysterical.
British holidaymakers stranded all over the world, including 33,400 in Spain – many of whom were in the Canaries – had nothing but praise for their reps and flight attendants who carried on working to make life easier for them, even knowing they were already unemployed and would not get paid for their services.
Spain's government threw on flights to get everyone home in case the UK was slow to react, launched credit schemes of up to €700 million to help the tourism industry in the worst-affected areas and to cover the immediate financial emergency, and set up a free legal service so that Spain-based Thomas Cook workers could fight for any unpaid wages or redundancy money and compensation where applicable.
On October 8, exactly 15 days after the firm ceased trading, Spain's government confirmed every single Thomas Cook tourist in the country had been repatriated, either by its own efforts or those of the UK.
Overall, given their ordeal and how they put their customers first – even when these were no longer their customers and they had nothing to lose – practically everyone would agree Thomas Cook's staff in the Canary Islands and beyond deserve their Golden Teide Award.
You may also be interested in ...
More Community/Public Services content
POLICE and firemen are constantly seen surrounding a Madrid hospital just lately – but not because of any public emergency. They climb through windows and burst into wards where bored children are forced to sit around...
The city of Valencia is currently undergoing a major transformation, with the redevelopment and pedestrianisation of many of its squares (plazas) moving along at great speed. Ten squares have already been pedestrianised...
Marbella's popular coastal walkway looks set to get a revamp in the new year. The town's Councillor for Works, Diego López, has held meetings with the provincial minister for the Environment, Cristóbal Ortega,...