Shoppers heading to the main supermarkets in the Balearics today will have to cross picket lines with at least 80 percent of the region's small shopkeepers refusing to open today as part of the national one-day shopkeepers' strike in protest over the government's recent changes to the commercial law to create a more liberal market therefore providing consumers with a more competitive and better service by expanding trading hours. In principle the region's large stores and hypermarkets, the enemy of the small shopkeeper will open as usual, but protesting shopkeepers have threatened to mount pickets and demonstrations outside supermarkets and management may have to enforce a minimum service if union members on the shop floor opt to join the strike. President of the Majorcan Small Shopkeepers' Association (PIMECO), Demetrio Peña, said yesterday if the only system the government understands is the pressure heaped on them by the farmers, haulage companies and fishermen, then we've been left will little option but to take similar action. PIMECO does not expect any of the shops in the old part of Palma to be open today and neither of the public markets are expected to be trading. But the protest is not only being mounted in Palma. Commercial Associations and union representatives in all the key areas in Majorca, such as Manacor, Inca, Pollensa, Sóller and Felanitx have also thrown their support behind the day of industrial action. None of the associations have bothered to work out exactly how much the strike will cost them, but shopkeepers are confident that they will recuperate their loses once they open for business again on Wednesday. But with the main supermarkets open, they could find themselves seriously disappointed.
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