Palma.—Tens of thousands of holiday makers can rest easy today after the coach strike, which was due to continue until Monday, was called off last night.

But, the 20-hour protest by drivers was a tense one and in an ugly incident in Magalluf one tourist was injured.

Drivers were protesting over pay and working conditions for private coach company drivers such as those ferrying passengers between airports and hotels.

Salvador Servera, the Managing Director of the Balearic Transport Federation (FEBT), warned during the day that unless the safety of such drivers operating minimum services and tourists could be guaranteed by police, there would be no private coaches going anywhere today.

Concerns about safety were also been voiced after two people had been found at Palma airport using catapults with iron shot, along with a vehicle loaded with stones.

Apart from personal injury and damage to around 50 coaches, Servera confirmed that two cruise ships had refused to dock in Palma yesterday because the arrival of 65 coaches contracted to ferry visitors into the city centre and to other tourist sites including the Caves of Drac in Porto Cristo and the Soller train could not be assured.

Limited support
Strike observers assessing the industrial action yesterday said that the protests had had 20 percent support in Majorca, 50 percent in Ibiza and none at all on Minorca.

Talks to break the deadlock began early yesterday morning when Servera held a meeting with the Central Government Delegate in the Balearic Islands, Ramon Socias, from whom he asked “maximum police protection” in order to avoid the attacks on tourists and damage to property of the kind witnessed yesterday.

Describing some of the deliberate aggression, Servera related to Socías how pickets throwing stones had broken coach wing mirrors, dented the body work, broken engine wires, burst tyres and poured silicone into locks.

Servera said that the areas which had been most affected by the private coach strike had been Magalluf, Palma, Alcudia and Can Picafort. He pointed out that under such circumstances, it was “very difficult” to go on working if people are still throwing stones.

Apart from anything else, said Servera, the whole spectacle was giving an appalling impression to visitors about what is meant by tourism in the Balearic Islands.

He said that “whilst legal respect is given to the right to strike, there also exists a constitutional right to work.” Unions have been complaining that drivers' shifts could last up to 12 hours and were therefore too exacting, but Francisco Tomé, the spokesman of the Private Transport Companies' Association said that of this total, just 7.5 hours would be on the road whilst the remainder of the time would be spent waiting for arrivals and departures.