Calvia council jumped the gun on Wednesday night when a statement was issued shortly after 7pm announcing that the taxi strike was over. The talks, which resumed over the council's plans to increase the number of taxi licences, on Thursday evening broke down again in the early hours of yesterday morning and cabbies resumed protest action, causing chaos to services and traffic throughout the day and threatened to continue with industrial action until a satisfactory solution is found. Despite the protest entering its seventh day, the council went ahead and approved the issue of 40 new licences this year and another 13 in 2003, provoking outrage from taxi drivers who are only prepared to accept a maximum of 25 new licences. Adding insult to injury, the council also approved the new holiday regulations and a new road system. Taxi drivers staged a mass protest in Palmanova, causing traffic chaos in response to the council's decision and at 2pm, the Local Police were deployed at the entrance of the Town Hall car park to prevent cabbies, who had occupied the car park for the best part of the past week, returning. On Thursday afternoon, taxi drivers removed their vehicles from the car park, as a result of which councillors agreed to meet representatives from the taxi association - but negotiations broke down at 2am. Taxi drivers, who staged a sit-in protest on the steps of the Town Hall, attended a mass rally at the Magalluf sports centre yesterday afternoon and later staged another mass protest along the Palma to Andratx motorway ahead of last night's council meeting. A spokesperson for the Calvia taxi association said yesterday that the council is determined not to issue less than 35 new taxi licences this year. But taxi drivers are refusing to accept more than 25 and have also rejected the new holiday regulations.
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