Calvia taxi drivers and the local council are continuing to hold residents and tourists to ransom as the dispute over expanding the size of the taxi fleet continues to disrupt services. Yesterday, as the dispute entered its sixth day, the council warned cabbies that unless they call off the illegal strike and that an alternative solution is put forward, there will be no more negotiations. Cabbies, angry over the council's intention to issue 53 new licences in order to boost the taxi fleet to meet growing demand, unexpectedly went on strike last Thursday, leaving scores of tourists and residents stranded with many holidaymakers forced to offer the driving public money to take them to the airport so not to miss their flights. President of the Insular Council of Majorca, Maria Antonia Munar, stepped into the dispute on Monday night, trying to help reach a solution, but at first light yesterday morning, the 120 taxis which have been parked in front of the town hall since the strike began, were still there. Minimum services were introduced on Saturday and the 188 taxis are operating on an eight-hour shift rota with a third operating at any one time to ensure that all of Calvia's cabbies get in a full shift every 24 hours. The council believes that the 188 taxis are no longer enough to meet the growing needs of Calvia's population, which balloons during the summer season. In an official statement the council said that it took the decision to end negotiations until the strike is called off out of respect for the rights of the public, tourists, the 279 cabbies and local businesses. The council is also angry over the behaviour of representatives for the Calvia Autotaxi Association which failed to show at yesterday morning's meeting. Since Thursday, the radio-taxi service has been out of action, cabbies have invaded and occupied the town hall car park and, according to the council, aggressively stormed the town hall. Taxi drivers subsequently complained when the local police were called in to guard the entrance to the town hall and protect councillors. Whether Calvia council has been able to force the hands of the taxi drivers, remains to be seen. Yesterday there was a party air outside the town hall where striking taxi drivers, lounging in the sunshine enjoying a leisurely lunch, had set up tables and chairs, surrounded by defiant protest banners. Most residents support the council's efforts to improve taxi services.
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