Staff Reporter
TRANSPORT Councillor in Palma City Council, Alvaro Gijón, stood firm yesterday, against 5 percent wage claims being tabled by workers from Palma's municipal bus company (EMT). His comments came as EMT employees are threatening partial stoppages on 27 February and 2 & 3 March; and a general strike on 9 and 11 March when there will be no municipal bus services running at all throughout the day. Unions represented within the bus company including the Workers Commission (CCOO) and USO, decided to take industrial action in response to the intransigent posture adopted by the Town Council on the subject of pay settlements over the next 3 years. Gijón stood his ground on the issue that the Council will not go above 2 percent in its offer of a pay increase to EMT workers, which is the increase delineated by law and which has been adhered to in all other Spanish cities. Furthermore, he warned that he was not going to give in to the unwarranted pressure and that he would continue to defend hs position in spite of the strike threat. “The concept of public service” deliberated the Councillor, “is above that of personal interest and the wage demands (made by EMT) have not been based on the reality of the company's current economic situation”. Gijón is nevertheless expected to hold another meeting this coming Monday with EMT representatives to try and come to an agreement. The opposing view was expressed by a USO Union spokesman and secretary of the company's Works Committee, Ramón Alcolea, who criticised the “intransigent” attitude of the bus company management. “Negotiations have broken down because the Council haven't budged an inch from their standpoint which is an offer of 2 percent, while we were aiming for a wage increase of 5 percent”. The Works Committee has indicated that “since the time that meetings were first held, management has remained absolutely, and unreasonably, immovable in its approach to finding a solution to the wage dispute” and have adopted an “unnecessarily high-handed manner in all dialogue with the Unions”. Union leaders have commented that “the new directorate that has emerged from the most recent municipal elections are seeking open confrontation with the workforce”.

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