KEY Workers Unions in the Balearics, CCOO and UGT, called on their regional members yesterday to “close ranks” and join in today's planned demonstration organised by the hotel workers' sector.

General secretaries of both Unions in the Balearics, José Benedicto and Lorenzo Bravo declared their support for the protest at a Press conference yesterday, insisting that “all of us are in the same boat” so far as economic trends in the Islands are concerned.

The demonstration will set off today at 4.30pm along the esplanade by the Auditorium in Palma, towards the Balearic government offices at Consolat de la Mar.

The march, which could be the first of many, will be spearheaded by the slogan “No, to change of use. Yes to work in the winter”. Bravo signalled that the protest aims to “sound a warning note” to the government and management organisations on the necessity of successfully tackling the changing face of tourism.

Also present were leading figures in the Unions' hostelry sectors, Antonio Copete and Rafael Borrás.
Copete pointed out that the protest will be directing a message from the workers to the hoteliers, saying that employees are rejecting the agenda of shortening the working tourist season. Increasingly, staff with fixed contracts are having their conditions of employment altered, he claimed, with between 1'000 and 1'500 people having had their “fixed” status removed last year. Workers are also against the Council of Majorca's plans to turn some hotels into flats.

Copete highlighted the importance of the hotel workers being able to count on the support of other Union members, saying that “when a hotel fails to open, it affects the working community around it”.