Tension ran high in Manacor yesterday as an angry crowd of about 300 Majórica pearl factory workers gathered outside the court house, demanding to see the judge. There were three National Police officers stationed at the main entrance to the courts, but after about an hour the workers managed to gain entrance. Their intention was to deliver a manifesto and stage a peaceful sit-in inside the building, to protest at the attitude of the court-appointed auditors of the trouble pearl factory. The workers gathered first of all at the headquarters of Majórica at about 9am and then marched to the court house, chanting slogans and carrying banners. When they reached the courts, the police refused to allow them to enter. After a brief struggle, the workers finally managed to enter the court by the back door. Once inside they demanded a meeting with judge Beatriz Martínez Rodríguez. During a meeting which lasted more than an hour, the workers aired their grievances, one of which is a wage freeze. The judge promised to speak to the auditors about this. At the end of the meeting, the workers returned to the Majórica building, describing the results of their first day's strike as “very positive.” The strike will continue today. During the demo at the court, deputy Mayor Miquel Vives made an appearance, to show the town council's support of the workers and their problems. He encouraged the workers to continue, saying “to defend Majórica is to defend Manacor.” Yesterday, union sources claimed that the number of people on sick leave because of depression and stress was on the increase, and is now about 60 workers. The workers have not ruled out even stronger action next week, although the unions have not revealed what this will consist of. Today a small group of workers are expected to go to Son Sant Joan airport, handing out posters protesting at the management's attitude and accusing them of speculation. The management have filed a complaint against the workers for illegal detention following Wednesday's disturbances.


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