THE Works Committee of the Municipal Bus Company in Palma decided yesterday afternoon to press ahead with their schedule of planned industrial action following an abortive three hour meeting with company management which had been originally set up to solve the conflict. Tomás Blanco, Balearic Transport Workers Union delegate said that management attended the meeting with a “totally closed” and “condescending” attitude to Union demands. Yesterday, the head of the Committee, Antoni Montes, confirmed that in terms of a salary revision, the main Unions were proposing a “negotiable” increase of 5 percent but the company management dug its heels in at an “immovable” 2 percent. The deadlock has resulted in the Company Works Committee announcing partial stoppages on 27 February, 2 & 3 March between the hours of 5 and 7.30am; and general strikes to be held on 9 & 11 March. Unions, however, are threatening indefinite strike action if an agreement is not reached by the end of the second date in March. Earlier in the day, about 30 workers from the bus company had gathered in front of City Hall in Palma to demand further negotiations on salary, threatening indefinite strike action. Demanding support from the mayor, Catalina Cirer, the protesters carried banners with slogans such as “Yes to negotiation, no to forced imposition”. In yesterday afternoon's meeting which began at 4pm, the company proposed to the Unions that their case be taken to arbitration, in which case the opposing sides would agree to the decision of an independent body. The Committee rejected the alternative which will mean that the schedule of protest will go ahead.
Members of the Works Committee were received by leading figures in Opposition groups who committed to act on behalf of the Transport workers in this Thursday's City Council meeting. The Opposition intend to lobby Transport deputy Alvaro Gijón for his views on the conflict.