STAFF REPORTER PALMA “WEDNESDAY's general strike in the Balearics was a success for all sides because the unions were able to take their anti-labour reform protests to the streets unhindered and the rights of those people who chose to work as normal were respected,” the Islands' Central Government Delegate Ramon Socias said yesterday.

Speaking to the media about the national budget for next year, Socias said that Central Government had also fulfilled its commitment to the public because it had not taken sides either with the unions or members of the public who decided to “open for business.” “People were free to choose for themselves,” said Socias, adding that many had in fact decided to report for work as usual.
He said that except for the odd isolated incident, “common sense ruled the day” and that the general strike in the Balearics had passed off peacefully.

He pointed to an attack on Telefonica's fibre optic installations in Ciutadella on Minorca after which 18'000 people were left without a telephone service. Socias said that the case is being investigated and that initial investigations point towards “a person, or persons, unknown,” who were very familiar with the system. Socias described other disruptive events which arose during Wednesday's strike as having a “minimal” effect. He said that Central Government's concern had been that the rights of people under national and regional constitutions should be observed. No one should be publicly condemned, said Socias, for having joined the strike, or for not having joined it.

Socias said that Spain's Prime Minister, Jose Luís Rodriguez Zapatero, had commented that what was most important in the aftermath of the strike was “the general interests of the state”, rather than whether or not his position as the country's leader had been strengthened or weakened.

Referring to the political stance of the opposition Partido Popular (PP), Socias said that he was very critical of “those who said on the quiet that they were against the strike but in reality were hoping for a massive turn out and that strike support would damage the standing of the Socialist Prime Minister.

Socias added that a party who could only push forward its policies on the back of what it saw as the failure of the ruling regime could never rule Spain with integrity.