Staff Reporter
CHAIRMAN of the Balearic Association of Companies providing Breakdown Assistance (ABEAC), Manuel Fernández Luque, confirmed yesterday morning that, as a last-minute decision, the companies of Majorca are not going to join a planned strike.

A meeting had been called the previous day to discuss the strike which has already hit several autonomous regions, but the Majorcan Association decided not to give backing, “principally because we don't want the consumer to pay the damages”.

Fernández also acknowledged a certain “lack of trust” by some companies in whether or not the stoppage would be backed by all the company bosses, but he denied that there was disorganisation in the sector. “There wasn't disorganisation because we respected the decision of 40 percent of the companies who opted not to back the strike”, he explained.
Separately, Fernández Luque declared that companies on Ibiza also “unanimously” rejected the strike call but the Minorcan branch of the Association has given its backing.

The strike of breakdown companies now affects the regions of Asturias, Aragon, Castilla y León, Catalonia, Valencia, Galicia, Extremadura, the Basque Country, Navarre, Madrid and La Rioja; as well as the four Andalucian provinces of Seville, Cordoba, Cadiz and Jaen; and Minorca.

BALEARIC GOVERNMENT MEDIATION
Meanwhile, during the coming week, ABEAC is to ask for the mediation of the Balearic government to help the Association reach an agreement with the insurance companies on the increase in tariff for services provided by breakdown cranes, explained the president yesterday.

The approach to the government will be made after the Balearic Association has analysed the outcome of a meeting which the State Federation of Breakdown Service Companies held yesterday afternoon in Madrid.

Fernández Luque signalled that the decision not to back the strike, which will go ahead in Minorca, doesn't mean a change of opinion amongst representatives in the sector, but is rather due to the fact that backing for the stoppage was “not unanimous”.

The President of ABEAC commented that at the meeting the previous evening at a hotel in Palma, held to confirm the strike position of the Balearic branch, all attendees agreed on the difficulties which are currently affecting the development of their business, with tariffs of between only 21 and 24 euros for the pickup of a vehicle, while the European average stands at between 58 and 72 euros.

Nevertheless, there was “lack of trust” expressed by some company chiefs during the meeting in which they declared their concern that some companies could take advantage of the strike by snatching away clients from their competitors. Fernandez Luque confirmed this was a definite obstacle to obtaining a decision to back the strike.

He also pointed out that the strike would be damaging to the repair workshops and said that many members had not wanted these innocent parties to “pay the bill” for the stoppage.

The president denied that this decision had weakened the position of his Association in the sector and rejected any idea of stepping down from his office.

ABEAC unites a half of the 50 companies that provide a breakdown service in Majorca, which in turn have 250 tow cars at their disposal and employ 350 workers.

The strike in Minorca started at 2pm, but by 6pm had not had any noticeable effect.

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