Chain collision TWO lorries and two cars were involved in a collision near the Son Hugo sports stadium, causing traffic chaos on the ring road. One of the cars, a Renault, was a complete write off. But despite the number of vehicles involved, only one person needed hospital treatment for her injuries. By 2pm, the tailbacks reached the Son Rapinya exit and the traffic authorities closed one lane so that the vehicles involved in the accident could be removed. At roughly the same time in Calle Capitan Salom, near the Red Cross, two cars were involved in a collision and one man, who was named as Juan Gabriel Navarro, was rushed to hospital with serious injuries. PIMECO, the association of small and medium-sized businesses, is threatening militant action if the association of department stores and hypermarkets (Anged) goes ahead with its decision to open on the 12 bank holidays. Although they are entitled to by law, an agreement had been reached in the Balearics under which they would open on only five days. This is part of the Balearic government's policy to favour the small trader. If Anged decides to go ahead with its plans, Pimeco says it will call for a new ruling, preventing the establishments from opening on any bank holidays, and will call on the central government to respect the Balearic law on commerce, which effectively does not allow Sunday opening. In a communique, Pimeco said that it would “firmly oppose and use whatever means of pressure necessary to defend the interests of small and medium sized businesses in Majorca, convinced that limiting Sunday and bank holiday openings will prevent their closure.” It adds that the small shops “cannot compete on equal terms with the large chains.” Josep Juan Cardona, the Balearic minister of commerce, industry and energy, declined to comment on the decision of the big chains to break the agreement (which was not in writing). However, he did express his regret at the possibility of the agreement being broken, adding that his department could not do anything as the big chains did not infringe any regulations by opening on the 12 bank holidays. He added that the calendar of opening times for 2005 would be negotiated at the end of this year, and that his policy is to support the small trader. It would be a pity if there were no agreement, he said, adding that if this proved to be the case, the Balearic government knows what it must do. “Our policy is to help and defend the small trader, and therefore, we know perfectly well what must be done.” Defence of the small trader will be always from the viewpoint of promoting competitiveness, he said, and “small traders must have the chance to compete with the big chains.”

News desk