The SFM industrial action has been off and on for months. | R.P.F.

The dispute between SFM rail workers and the regional government has been dragging on for months without a resolution getting anywhere nearer; it is one over pay and conditions.

The president of the SFM works committee, Ricardo Mas, says that the government's attitude is a "total disgrace" in that it seems to care only about giving concessions to private companies (a reference seemingly to the bus companies which will operate the tourist bus services). The government, he adds, is doing the complete opposite to what was preached during the election campaign.

In the absence of any agreement through the court of arbitration, Mas adds that the workers will not give up their fight and will not take a backward step until there is compliance with agreements.

The next round of industrial action, announced yesterday, will include a 24-hour strike from midnight on 6 March, the same day as the taxi drivers plan to stop for 24 hours from six in the morning. However, unlike the taxi drivers, who are not bound by rules for guaranteeing minimum services, the rail workers are. Their 24-hour strike will, therefore, mean that certain services will operate.

Prior to this 24-hour action, there will be a two-hour strike on 4 March from five minutes to ten in the morning. Further strikes of brief duration have also been called for 14, 16. 22, 27 and 30 March. The industrial action applies to both the rail and the metro services.

Just to add to all this, dockworkers at the state-owned ports in the Balearics, e.g. Palma and Alcudia, have announced they will also be striking from 6 March.