Palma was bracing itself last night for a taxi strike which could bring chaos to the city over the Easter period. Union leaders representing 1'200 cabbies last night said they were calling for strike action from Good Friday (April 21) to Easter Sunday to protest against local government plans to allow non-Palma registered drivers to collect passengers at the airport. And it is not only the airport: under government legislation recently announced they can also operate services from the ferry ports and the railway stations. The move has been slammed by Palma drivers who claim that as the airport is in Palma, it is their domain and should not be opened up to rivals from other municipalities. City cabbies claim that most of their income is earned from the lucratives fares on offer at Palma airport. Non-Palma based drivers are in the process of forming an association which will allow them to take advantage of this new government ruling. Consumer groups have welcomed the announcement saying that there will be more taxis available offering a greater public service at the airport. During the peak summer months there is often a shortage of taxis. The local ministry for Transport is expected to intervene in the dispute and is calling for talks with union leaders. A taxi strike could disrupt the holidays plans of thousands of Easter tourists. Last night a spokesperson for Palma cabbies said that they would be fighting the government ruling tooth and nail. He claimed that taxis from other municipalities on the island were already collecting clients at the airport and were breaking the law. The spokesperson said that the authorities should be cracking down on the large number of “illegal taxis” which were operating at the airport. They claim that people using their private cars are ferrying holidaymakers to and from the airport, effectively breaking all government transport laws. There have been incidents in which these “private cabbies” have been caught red-handed.


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