Construction workers from across Majorca rallied and marched through Palma yesterday evening in protest over the high number of work accidents on the island and today, workers will join a second day of industrial action with pickets and protests being organised along the Playa de Palma. Yesterday the two main unions, the UGT and the CC.OO, reported that between 85 and 90 per cent of the Majorcan construction industry participated in the first day of protest action. The Balearic Construction Association was unable to confirm the figures, but admitted that the Balearics Day holiday would have helped boost the number of people backing industrial action. Protesting workers mounted pickets at building sites in Palma and across the island first thing yesterday morning in order to catch any colleagues intending to turn up for work. The industrial action, which is part of a national strike, has been organised in protest over the high number of work accidents, the deregulation of work conditions and out of control sub-contracting.
There were growing fears of more general industrial action yesterday after talks between Spanish employers groups and trade unions on how to reform the country's labour laws collapsed late on Thursday, bringing eight months of negotiations to a halt, officials said. Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar said the government's weekly cabinet meeting would announce a series of reform measures if the talks failed to find agreement by a deadline on Thursday night. The government wants to find ways of tackling the European Union's highest unemployment rate of nearly 14 percent.