Palma.—Over 5'000 of the ground staff will be walking out at airports here in the Balearics and yesterday, Spanish travel agents warned that two million outbound travellers could be affected by the 24-hour stoppages while hundreds of thousands of inbound Britons could also be hit, not to mention visitors and holiday makers flying in to Spain from across the world.

The main CCOO, UGT and USO unions met yesterday in a final attempt to avert the strike action but talks failed and union bosses warned that the action will affect all of Spain's international airports – especially those in popular holiday destinations such as the Balearics and the Canary Islands.

The strikes come at a difficult time for Spain which is battling huge economic problems and whose tourism industry is only just beginning to recover after three very difficult years.

Strike threats by Spanish airport workers and air traffic controllers have become incresaingly common over recent years and yesterday the Balearic Association of Travel Agents, Aviba, slammed the strikes for doing further damage to the region's image. The workers are protesting after a private company which runs baggage handling at Barcelona's El Prat airport made four workers redundant.

Three were rehired by the same company, WFS, but the unions called industrial action in support of the fourth worker, who remains out of a job.

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