An illegal street seller in Palma might typically take home twenty euros a day or he might not make anything. One seller in the Plaça Major, a 25-year-old Senegalese citizen, says that the bags he sells come from Chinese sources. If a bag is sold for fifteen euros, he makes between three to five euros; the rest goes to the Chinese supplier.
He explains that when he came to Spain he never thought that three years later he would be an illegal street seller. He is a seller because he can't find any other work. He wanted to bring his family over as well, but he barely earns enough to look after himself.
He is constantly wary of the police putting in an appearance, be they uniformed or plainclothes, and believes that the same could happen in Palma as did in Madrid, where a street seller died when apparently being chased by police.
The circumstances of that incident are disputed, but in Palma the general secretary of the municipal police union, Emilio Oyarzáballa, says that the police were warned at the start of the current town hall administration period (in 2015 therefore) that if they chase an illegal seller and he has an accident, the police are responsible. Oyarzáballa adds that there has been no instruction from the town hall in light of what is said to have occurred in Madrid, but explains that the police don't chase the sellers, it is the sellers who run off when they see the police.
Although the town hall has now agreed to specify the illegality of street selling in a bylaw, retailers are planning a protest. Discussions about this are currently taking place between the associations which represent smaller businesses and smaller retailers - Pimem, Pimeco and Afedeco - and the Confederation of Balearic Business Associations. As and when there is a protest, it is expected to be a large one against the unfair competition that the illegal street sellers represent.
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