Palma airport yesterday after the first day of the strike by cleaning staff.

Striking cleaning staff literally thrashed Palma airport yesterday on the first day of their five-day stoppage. A 300 or so strong picket overturned rubbish containers and threw litter all over the terminal building. The state of affairs was made worse when the cleaners were joined in their strike by those responsible for the luggage trolleys. Last night the airport looked more like a war zone than one of the modern airports in Europe. Passengers were having to carry their luggage to the check-in areas over floors laden with rubbish. Some passengers were visibly struggling with their heavy cases as they tried to avoid cans and bottles which had been thrown across the floor. All trolleys had been removed. The airport authorities were powerless to act and the only thing they could do was broadcast a message over the tannoy system informing passengers of the strike and apologising for its affect. Cleaning staff had targeted Palma airport as the focal point for their stoppage in support of a pay claim. They had gathered there at 5a.m. yesterday when their shift usually starts. After a union meeting they proceeded to overturn rubbish bins and containers. Toilets paper was removed from public toilets and thrown across the floor. There was a large police presence and there were some incidents although no arrests were reported. Minmimum services which had been imposed by the government were disregarded and according to union officials most of the 4'000 cleaning staff in Majorca had joined the strike call. Attempts by the Balearic government to mediate in the stoppage have so far proved unsuccessful.


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