STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
MORE than a thousand rail passengers were affected by a second day of wildcat strikes yesterday.
Pelayo Carrasco, spokesperson for the Majorcan Railway Services Works Committee hailed the success of the industrial action which had been supported by 80 of the company's 224 employees between 10am and 12pm.

Negotiations had broken down between management and workers over safety issues and the contracting of 10 senior members of staff. Although yesterday had been the second wildcat strike, Carrasco said that in the event of no agreement between the two sides being reached, another is planned on the 20th of this month which may well last the whole day.

Yesterday's stoppage which was spearheaded with banners reading “Fire and Smoke” to highlight the staff's safety concerns, affected five of the company's trains. The majority of passengers were able to pick up other trains or had used buses to get to their final destination. “The impact of the strike was similar to the first one which was held on 1st July,” said Carrasco.

The unions said that negotiations have “stalled” and regretted that the company “did not see fit to meet union demands and improve working conditions.” The unions were particularly aggrieved over SFM plans to contract 10 senior members of staff to oversee specific areas of railway expansion for a short-term period. The company has reportedly set aside 46'522 euros to pay the new personnel - two road engineers, two lawyers, a human resources specialist, a top notch computer engineer, an information technology technician, an industrial engineer and an administrator.

Instead the unions, which claim not enough attention is being paid to the maintenance of rolling stock, want the regional Transport ministry to provide full-time jobs to 15 mechanics. The unions also want the job advertisements to be put out to the public at large. “In this way, people will have the dignity of an ongoing salary as opposed to a short-term subcontract,” Carrasco said.

Apart from an all-day wildcat strike planned for 20th July, others are on the cards for 24th July from 8-10pm and on the 25th from 2-4pm if no agreement is reached.

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