The Civil Guard has no one to serve them coffee in Bilbao |  Spain

The Civil Guard has no one to serve them coffee in Bilbao | Spain

Barracks of the Civil Guard of La Salve (Bilbao).
Barracks of the Civil Guard of La Salve (Bilbao).

The Ministry of the Interior has declared void, after not receiving any offers, the public tender launched last November to find a hospitality company that would be in charge of “managing and operating” the cafeteria-dining room that exists inside the barracks that the Civil Guard has in La Salve, in Bilbao, the main infrastructure of the armed institute in Bizkaia and in which more than 400 agents are stationed. Until now, this service was provided by the civil guards themselves “due to the special dangerous circumstances suffered by the components of this Institution”, the tender document states in clear reference to ETA, which while it was active murdered 51 civil guards in this Basque province. For decades, this terrorist violence forced the agents themselves to act as cooks and waiters for their colleagues in order to prevent the entry of external personnel who could provide information about the facility and its occupants to the armed gang.

Now, and after noting “a certain relaxation of this situation [tras el fin de los atentados en 2011 y la disolución de ETA en 2018] that allows these services to be outsourced”, Interior intended to “derive” the civil guards assigned to serve the canteen to reinforce police work, as stated in the documentation to which EL PAÍS has had access. With this, he also aspired to improve the “living conditions” of the agents assigned to the barracks, “by not having to travel to other establishments” to carry out their daily consumption.

However, after the contest failed, sources from the General Directorate of the Civil Guard suggest that the La Salve cafeteria-dining room will remain closed. It will be the only large barracks of the armed institute in the Basque Country in which it occurs, after the one in Vitoria found a company three years ago to manage its canteen and the Intxaurrondo barracks, in San Sebastián, recently awarded the exploitation of the yours, which began operating on January 1st. In other Civil Guard facilities in the rest of Spain, these operating contracts are regularly tendered and awarded, according to the documentation.

The lack of offers for the cafeteria-dining room of La Salve has occurred despite the fact that the Civil Guard highlighted in the bidding file the supposed bonanzas of the contract. Thus, in the so-called “feasibility report”, it pointed out that the potential clientele of the canteen was 486 people, including agents, relatives of those who stay in the housing of the barracks and what it calls “indirect users”, in reference to “citizens, visits from friends to members of the body, etc.”. The armed institute also highlighted that its personnel “use the service on a regular basis in accordance with national uses and customs.”

And he added that 22% of these potential customers “use cafeteria services, which means 107 users per day”, in addition to predicting that, according to data from 2019, the last year before the pandemic, a minimum of 54 were served. daily menus (then it was offered for three and a half euros, because the cost of personnel was zero as the guards themselves provided the service). However, the file also admitted that the agents “are not obliged to use the cafeteria/canteen services” and that “the number of potential clients is uncertain and the contracting entity is obliged to provide the service even when it is not profitable ”.

For this reason, as a last incentive, the armed institute stressed that the command itself would take care of the “expenses of electricity, water, garbage, sewerage and natural gas”, which it quantified at a total of 6,256 euros per year. With all these data, the tender file estimated that the operation of the cafeteria-dining room could provide the successful bidder with an “annual income” of 65,391 euros, of which at least 4,520 would be gross profit. The documentation detailed that the cafeteria had 190 square meters, with 11 bar, and the dining room, 110 square meters, with capacity for 70 diners.

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The contract contemplated an initial duration of one year, extendable for another three. It was not going to have any cost for the Administration and the choice was going to be made based on the improvements proposed by the companies that attended, including making copies of the national, local or sports press available to the civil guards (two points per each newspaper), that had a television channel with sports broadcasts (three points) or the variety of menus (10 points), among others.

With these figures, on November 29 the Civil Guard called the contest. Less than a month later, on December 27, the contracting table confirmed that no “offer or proposal” had been received and Colonel Pascual Segura, head of the Bizkaia command, was forced to declare the tender void, as was made public this Tuesday on the contracting platform.

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