TRAFFIC in Palma was brought to a halt yesterday as dozens of lorries and cement mixers were driven through the streets by workers of the Establiments quarries, in protest at the city council's decision to close the quarries down.
The demonstrators left from the Can Valero industrial estate at 11am, and drove along the Avenidas to the city council's planning department, and then to city hall itself in Plaza Cort.
The noisy protest - the drivers sounded their klaxons non-stop as they drove - was organised after a meeting with Javier Rodrigo de Santos, the deputy mayor in charge of planning, failed to produce the results they had wanted.
The workers had hoped to obtain a commitment to postpone the closing of the quaries until a plan guaranteeing the workers' jobs could be drawn up. The deputy mayor, however, only promised to do everything possible to find them new jobs through the council job service. In addition to the loss of jobs, the closure of the quarries could lead to an increase in heavy traffic on the Manacor road, as construction firms will now have to go to Porreres to buy sand and cement. The closure will also force up the price of these products, according to Antonio Rafael Cano, a spokesman of Can Rossello, one of the two quarries affected by the order.
Yesterday, Rodrigo de Santos confirmed that the council's decision to close the quarries was irrevocable. He added that the council was prepared to discuss the future of the workers, but would not consider delaying the closing of the quarries. As to restoring the site of the quarries after the closing, that is a matter for the environment ministry, he said. Plans for one stage of this operation have been approved, but according to Rodrigo de Santos, it is up to the ministry to force the management to carry it out.
Residents of Establishments have been petitioning for the quarries to be closed for years, alleging explosions cause structural damage to their homes.