A repeat of last year's coach strike looks a strong possibility.

20-08-2013
The Balearic government yesterday approved a decree regulating minimum services for the general strike on Thursday, and it includes 30 coaches for ferrying people from the airport to their resorts. But the two main unions, the CC.OO (Workers Commissions) and the UGT (General Workers Union) have already announced that they will not comply with this ruling, as they do not consider the coach service “a constitutional right.” Earlier this week, their war cry was “not a single coach at the airport.” Government spokesman Antoni Garcías appeared before the media yesterday after the latest meeting between government and union representatives. He said that the decree met with approval “in 99 per cent of the themes,” and included coach services in compliance with a court ruling. He added that the minimum coach services decreed will give preference to the transfer of minors, the elderly and the disabled throughout the day, from the airports to their resorts. For Majorca, the decree provides for 20 coaches (nearly five per cent of the number on the road on any Thursday in June). They will cover eight different routes through the resorts. But once there, the tourists will have to find their own way to their hotels. Palma's Son Sant Joan airport is expected to handle 46'000 passengers and 425 flights on Thursday. Under the ruling, there will be four coaches in Minorca and a minimum of six in Ibiza. Garcias said that an earlier court ruling said that the transport for travellers to move freely between their holiday accommodation and airports and ports was considered an essential service. The government spokesman said that blocking the airports on June 20 could lead to “health risks or risks of disturbing the peace.” Shortly before the decree was ratified CC.OO spokesman Baltasar Piñeiro left the meeting and said they had “reached agreement in everything, except coaches.” He stressed that the unions had showed flexibility over regular transport, but underlined their determination not to provide the minimum services in the coach sector, a point which they say is not negotiable. Manuel Pelarda of the UGT lamented the fact that the media have centred their attention on the coach services and the airports, and warned the government that it “will have to assume its responsibility” if it decrees minimum services in this sector, because “it will be deceiving citizens as it knows they will not be provided.” But Garcías said that the central government's office is responsible for guaranteeing that the law is respected and he made a call for the unions to show responsibility. The hoteliers have adopted a series of measures to minimise the impact of the strike and Pere Cañellas, their spokesman, said that they would try to achieve that their guests barely felt the effects. Many of the hotels, he said, are planning special self service meals and probably the only inconvenience for clients is that they will have to make their own beds. He added that as bookings are down by 20 per cent, if guests have difficulty getting to the airport there will be no problems if they want to stay in their room.

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