Palma bus strike continues.

Palma bus strike continues.

17-09-2020Teresa Ayuga

It’s day 5 of the Palma bus strike and negotiations between EMT Management and Union Representatives have reached a stalemate.

"We are wasting time because the company won’t agree to anything that we’re asking for," claims Works Council Spokesperson, Juan Antonio Salamanca.

The Unions are demanding the reinstatement of lines 9 and 31 which were dropped during the State of Emergency and are now covered by the on-demand service.

"We offered to speak about the rest later, when circumstances improved, but they said no; we do not know why there's so much interest in transport on demand.” he said.

In relation to line 199, which connects Palma with Sant Agustí by private bus, Salamanca says, "they have told us that nothing can be done because there is a 10-year concession and they can’t guarantee that this won’t happen with other routes.”

The Unions are also concerned that “the non-implementation of the agreement in workshops could also happen in other departments, which is why we have asked them to submit to the discretion of the TAMIB but they have refused."

"We are not asking for anything that the company cannot accommodate, but they are very closed,” said Salamanca. “We are very concerned, because Friday is the fifth day of the strike, tensions are building and we do not know what will happen.”

EMT Management claims there’s only one issue that the two sides can’t agree on.

The workshop shifts are blocking the agreement,” said EMT. “The Unions have been presented with an agreement to call off the strike, which includes everything we have agreed in the last few days, including the return of 50% of the holidays taken during the State of Emergency, but workshop shifts at nights and weekends are a sticking point."

Before the meeting, Palma Mayor José Hila, and Mobility Councillor, Francesc Dalmau, said there was very little room for manoeuvre.

"We have agreed many points with the Unions, but we can't give them everything they're asking for," said Mayor Hila. "We have given as much as we can and we don't have the capacity to allocate more money to the EMT. This is not time for strike action, it’s not solidarity, this is the time to use the City Council’s budget to help people to get out of this situation we are living in right now”.

"Neither in the EMT nor in the Ajuntament has a money-making machine,” said EMT President and Mobilitat Councillor Francesc Dalmau in a letter to the workers.

“The State of Emergency and the coronavirus crisis has caused a brutal drop in revenue of between 60% and 95% since March, which has placed EMT in technical bankruptcy and forced the City Council to provide a 16 million euro rescue deal for wages because a decision was taken not to execute any ERTE,” he added.

He also called for understanding from the workers.

"Palma is suffering from the worst social, economic and labour crisis in its history."

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