THE threat of industrial action by hotel and tourism sector employees this summer has been averted after the unions, hotel federation and tourism chiefs met for talks on Wednesday night.

Some militant unionists claim they plan to go ahead with protest action, but key union leaders are satisfied with the Balearic government's acceptance of their demands. Plans by the government of help struggling hoteliers transform their properties into apartment blocks caused fury with the unions. Union bosses slammed the proposal saying that it would lead to major job losses while encouraging illegal holiday lets and damaging resort economies.

However, the government has agreed to set out strict guidelines for hotel owners wishing to convert their properties. Strict requisites protecting employees' rights will have to be met and redundancies will have to be voluntary.

Tourism Minister Joan Flaquer said that he was pleased with the result of the meeting which he described as constructive.
He was concerned about the negative impact of strike action at the end of the summer season. Meanwhile Majorca Hotel Federation boss, Pere Cañellas, accused the unions yesterday of pushing the issue too far with threats of strike action. He warned that, as far as he is concerned, his federation will not be negotiating isolated cases, instead an overall model for the future of the Balearic tourist industry. Pere Cañellas said that the results of the Wednesday's meeting have been “taken out of context” and that it was not specifically called to discuss the union's problems.

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