An economic catastrophe was averted last night when the eight-day strike by 60'000 hostelry sector employees was called off. Yesterday afternoon trade unionists and hostelry management representatives met for crisis talks in one final attempt to resolve the dispute which all sectors of business and commerce in the Balearics had warned would cripple the region and cause long term damage. The two main unions, the CC.OO workers commissions and the UGT, general workers union, finally agreed to accept a four per cent pay rise. Initially they were demanding six per cent, a figure which, under the current negative climate in the tourist sector, management was unable to meet. With hoteliers offering two per cent and the union demanding six per cent, the Balearics was heading for industrial action, but last night, the warring parties met half way. The first wave of industrial action was scheduled for July 26 and 27 with two further waves of three-day strikes in August. The unions and management have, however, still to resolve their dispute over a reduction in the working week. Earlier in the week, there were concerns that fellow hostelry workers going on strike in Malaga and along the Costa del Sol, would fuel the dispute in the Balearics. Union leaders started the week with some tough talking, giving little indication that a deal could be reached before today. However, industrial action by hostelry staff, which would disrupt holidays for tens of thousands of people and further spoil the Balearics damaged image, found little support. Despite closely guarded sympathy for the workers from the left-wing local government, the airline sector, the tourist industry, industry and commerce warned union leaders against pushing ahead with strike action and to act responsibly. Economists warned that a strike over pay rises, in view of the crisis gripping the tourist industry, could ironically lead to job losses.
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