NEWSDESK

PALMA
THE Balearic Minister for Transport has warned that industrial action will not prevent his department from driving through its proposals for the Majorcan rail network after yesterday's work stoppage by rail workers.

Speaking after the stoppage by rail workers between 8am and 10am yesterday, Biel Vicens expressed his “disgust” at the actions of rail workers for stopping work outside of the regular procedures governing strike action.

He added that the reduced services in place had gone ahead without problems.
Vicens said that an investigation would be begun into the unofficial action and sanctions taken against those whose “indiscriminate” conduct had affected the rights of train users.

He also expressed the determination of the Department of Transport to continue with its proposals to improve rail services in the Balearics by increasing the frequency of trains - especially during rush hours - and the setting up of a centralised control centre.

It is this latter measure which caused the Minister to come into conflict with the rail workers. “The Department is determined and nobody will stop us,” said Vicens, who emphasised that the new measures would not affect the current employment situation of workers nor result in a reduction in the workforce.

He added that he had not stopped meeting with the unions and emphasised the need to improve the operation of rail services in Majorca.
Vicens said that the Majorcan Rail Service (SFM) was looking at “rationalising” the current overtime system, which was “until now very uneven”.
He added that he had continually ruled out cutting the current workforce and that “the possibility of increasing the number of workers in the future was being studied”.

The main unions for their part, which form the workers' committee in the SFM, said that if the current situation does not change, “only two workers will control the whole rail network, without any back-up in the event of an incident of some kind”.

However, they added that on the other hand the new system would see engine drivers adopting new work schedules that would see them working uninterrupted for over nine hours.

On same occasions, according to the unions, the drivers would be the only ones aboard the trains.
The strikes are due to continue on June 18, 20, 24, 26, 28.

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