Balearics unions bosses yesterday urged charter airlines not to fly on June 20, either bringing forward or delaying their flights in order to avoid the general strike,
UK tour operators are already rescheduling their excursions for next week so none fall on Thursday, but it appears that the unions are determined to bring the airport to a halt. Warnings were also issued to the supermarkets, shopping centres and small shopkeepers yesterday against coercing their staff into crossing picket lines and working. The Balearic business and tourist sector yesterday expressed its deep concerns over the implications of the strike. The biggest worry is how a total of 60'000 holidaymakers are going to be moved between hotels and airports across the region. On Thursday, Palma's Son San Joan airport is expecting 46'000 passengers and to handle 425 flights. President of the Balearic Association of Travel Agents, Eduardo Zamorano, said yesterday that, apart from in a very few isolated cases, it is virtually impossible for the airlines to start altering their flight programmes. Yesterday afternoon further talks were held between the Balearic government and representatives from the tourist sector. Government sources said that Juame Batle, president of the Association of Coach Companies, is confident that between 15 and 25 per cent of coaches will be operating minimum services in order to ensure airport transfers continue as usual. This morning however, the Balearic government will establish which minimum services have to operate, which in turn the unions will have to comply with or face possible legal action. Batle said that providing minimum services operate, the repercussions of the strike will not be as disastrous as the three-day coach strike last year. However, Zamorano said that the damage has already been done to the Balearics with the strike topping the news across Europe. What is vital is to make sure that tourists can be moved between the airports and hotels in order to avoid adding to the damage caused by last year's strike. He said that tour operators are starting to inform their clients about the strike and there is growing concern because the general strike will also effect public bus services, taxis, ground staff at airports and air traffic control. Last night the Balearic government's director general for transport was meeting unions to reach a deal over minimum services and to ensure that the unions will respect today's decision on minimum services by the government. It appears that Majorca is going to be divided up into eight sectors in which tourists will be transported back and forth to the airport. The hotel sector is asking the union to be responsible and consider the long term effects the strike will have on the whole of the Balearics. The latest figures showed that tourist figures are down 12 per cent this year and some tour operators said yesteray that the general strike is the last thing the Balearics needs.