By Humphrey Carter LESS than 24 hours after it was confirmed that unemployment in the Balearics has reached a record 127'400 and is continuing to rise, over 2'000 people took part in the May Day marches through Palma yesterday.

Under the slogan “the right to work” the marchers took to the streets in protest over the worsening employment situation in the Balearics and across Spain in general and the pending labor reforms which will make it cheaper for companies to lay even more people off and extend the retirement age to 67.

Spain's unemployment rate has hit 20 percent, although it is slightly higher at 22.1 percent in the Balearics, for the first time in nearly 13 years and the unions are worried that the situation is going to get worse as the country's economic problems continue.

There were a total of 4'612'700 people unemployed in the country at the end of March, the national statistics agency INE reported and the jobless rate has risen sharply during the economic downturn to become the highest in the eurozone.

Balearic union bosses said yesterday that the Balearic government has got to introduce a new economic model. “We can't continue operating with a model which is based on property speculation with the big banks doing exactly what they want without any proper regulation and not helping the small business sector,” Lorenzo Bravo, the secretary general of the UGT General Workers Union said.

Katiana Vicens, the secretary general of the CCOO workers' commission, said that the government needs to reactivate the economy with public and private investment. “We need investment in new technologies, in new industries to create a more sustainable employment market. “All the government is talking about is unemployment, we want them to start talking about employment,” she said.