Strikes are off next week, but what about the following weeks? | smono


Dockworkers have called off their strikes that had been scheduled for 6 and 8 March. They have done so in the hope that the national ministry for development (responsible for transport affairs) will enter into "real negotiations" over legislative reform that would see an end to stevedores' closed shops at state ports in Spain.

The decision to call off the first of these strikes - nine days have been announced in all - has taken business associations in Majorca by surprise. They had been anticipating the first strike on Monday (and the second one on Wednesday) by ensuring that stocks were as high as possible. Bartomeu Servera of the association of distribution companies, says that orders had been increased in order to fill warehouses and that it was in a position to deal with the first week of industrial action. He is still concerned that the second and third weeks could cause chaos because of a lack of supplies. Everything depends, he adds, on the actions of pickets at the ports in Barcelona and Valencia from which most of Majorca's supplies come.

Other associations - those for large retailers and builders - as well as the Chamber of Commerce are likewise concerned. In addition to worries about general supplies, there are specific concerns for fashion retailers because of the switch from winter to spring clothing and for the builders who need materials to ensure that deadlines for hotel redevelopments are met.

Servera is critical of political parties in the Balearics. He says they do not seem to care about the distribution sector, despite it being of utmost importance. At no time, he states, have they been interested in finding about the industrial conflict and its effects.