Yesterday morning's protest by some 5000 intimidating Palma taxi drivers at Palma airport was just “an aperitif for Saturday's” industrial action warned the President of the Autonomous Association of Majorcan Taxi Drivers, Gabriel Moragues. According to Moragues, 90 per cent of the Palma taxi fleet stopped work for four hours yesterday morning and joined the demonstration in protest over the airport taxi ranks being opened up to cabbies from all over the island, thus breaking Palma taxi drivers' exclusive rights to passengers at the terminal. While the large turnout of taxi drivers was welcomed by Moragues, the sight of 500 angry cabbies loitering with intent outside Departures at Palma airport was a daunting sight for unsuspecting holidaymakers going home. The cabbies were on the lookout for taxi drivers from outside the municipality of Palma and were quick to swoop on taxis dropping clients off. In some cases tourists were encouraged not to pay the fare while in others tension rose between the lone cabbie on duty and the mass of protesting taxi drivers. As during last summer's transport strike at the airport, there were ugly scenes, some of which revolved around bemused and concerned visitors to the island. Those passengers arriving and hoping to catch a taxi to their destination were faced with a deserted taxi rank and forced to endure a lengthy wait for a taxi or join the long queues for the bus to Palma. Some sources for the taxi association claimed that of the 1.240 taxis in Palma, 1.150 took part in the stoppage between 8am and mid-day. A large number of taxi drivers which are members of the Confederation of Balearic Business Associations also took part in solidarity with their colleagues.


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