Palma.—The municipal government and unions took a very important step yesterday in averting a strike over a minimum 37.5 working week being imposed by Central Government.

After more than three and a half hours of negotiation and various offers being made, Palma City Council proposed in writing that staff work half an hour more each day and that they reduce their rest period by 10 minutes, from 30 minutes to 20, so that they can leave their place of work 10 minutes early.

In fact, this means that civil servants would only be working an extra 20 minutes a day rather than half an hour, but they would have to make do with 10 minutes less for a mealbreak.

The Council then accepted a proposal by the unions that the new measure should be applied from 1st October onwards instead of from 15th September, so that negotiations might continue.

The President of the Municipal Staff Board, Toni Tovar, said that the City Council's proposals would be discussed and put to the vote next Monday at a General Assembly. On Tuesday, staff and union representatives would meet again with the Council negotiating team to say whether or not the proposals would be accepted or not.

Municipal spokesman, Julio Martinez warned that if the Council offer was rejected, then the initial proposal of working an extra half hour a day would be applied by law.

Civil Service Councillor Irene San Gil said that the extension of working hours would mean that the public could be provided with more services (consideration is being given to opening some social service offices in the afternoon). It would also mean savings in the hire of temporary staff.