by Staff Reporter
NINETY-FIVE per cent of the tow truck firms in the Balearics are backing the nationwide strike called to demand higher fees from insurance companies, according to a spokesman for their association, ABEAC.

However, he was unable to say how many drivers had been left stranded as a result of the strike, which became operative at midnight yesterday.
Manuel Fernández, the chairman of ABEAC, claimed yesterday that about 80 of the 250 tow cars which operate in the Balearics parked at Vilafranca yesterday, in a rally protesting at what they consider “the low prices” which the insurance companies pay for their services.

He added that he had not been able to determine how many drivers had been affected, as full results were not yet in, but he pointed out that the tow trucks provide an average of 400 to 600 services a day.

In the meantime, the Majorcan fire brigade reported that up to 2pm, they had not been called out to remove any vehicles involved in accidents from the roads.

Fernández said that the strike would continue despite the cold spell, although he added that “if the weather gets worse, and there is danger for road users because of a lack of service, then the protest will be suspended automatically” and normal service will be restored.

The tow truck owners want the insurance companies to update average payments per service in keeping with a report on costs drawn up after the last strike held in the summer.

That strike was only backed in Minorca in the Balearics.
Fernandez claimed that the insurance companies want to use only the part of the report which is in their favour.
The tow truck companies currently receive an average of 23 euros per service, but the report on costs, drawn up by Alcala de Henares University and the consultants Spim, said that the average cost was 49 euros.

The insurance companies refuse to accept the increase in costs because they claim that the report is not binding until it is approved by the Service for the Defence of Competition (SDC).

However, the tow truck companies say that the SDC should have no say in the matter as according to negotiations which ended the strike of August 28, it was only agreed to notify the SDC of the results of the report, not await its verdict.

On a national level, the tow truck companies have asked the government to intervene to help speed up negotiations and find a solution.