by Staff Reporter

PALMA
THE unions have called off the tourist transport strike which was scheduled to be held on Friday and Saturday and June 1, 2 and 3, after an initial agreement was received with the management.

The agreement, which gives the transport workers a 4.5 per cent pay rise, was reached in the early hours of yesterday morning, after several days of tough negotiations.

The terms of the agreement are that it will be valid for four years -- as management had proposed from the start; an increase of four per cent in overtime pay from July 1; recognition of length of service from the first day the work contract comes into force -- as the unions had proposed; and a wage increase of 4.5 per cent this year and the real Consumer Price Index plus 1.25 per cent in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

The unions failed to win a 30 minute reduction in the working day, which remains at seven and a half hours a day, nor will expenses (9.50 euros a day) be increased.

Antonio Losada, speaking for the three major unions, expressed their satisfaction yesterday. He said “although negotiations have been tough, we have finally managed to reach an initial agreement favourable to the workers.” Salvador Servera, speaking for the transport companies, said “common sense has prevailed.” Wage talks started on January 10, although the three main unions did not decide to present a united front until May 2. Two days later, after walking out of talks, the unions announced their decision to strike, although talks continued with the help of the mediation board.

The strike would have played havoc with tourism as it would have affected not only excursions, but also the transportation of tourists to and from the airport.

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