The United Left (EU) candidate for Mayor of Palma, Eberhard Grosske, yessterday accused the council of disastrous staff management in the EMT (municipal transport company) so that it will have a political alibi to justify its privatisation. He was speaking at a press conference called to criticise what he called a vicious circle the company has fallen into, because of the high rate of absenteeism, which affects 11 per cent of the staff. He claimed that the management tackled this by punishing the workers by psychological harassment. He claimed that the management wanted to give the impression that the company was impossible to run, to pave the way for an eventual privatisation. He also claimed that the first steps have been, in his opinion, the renewal of the fleet by leasing. Grosske, the former Balearic labour minister, said that the company tackled absenteeism by excessive overtime, 5'000 hours a month. If current levels of absenteeism are maintained, the company will need 30 new employees, Grosske claimed. He also promised to promote the use of public transport if he won office in May by reducing the cost of a ticket and increasing lines and frequencies.