Wednesday's protest caused traffic jams. | Miquel À. Cañellas

The Mercapalma board of directors is due to approve aid to wholesalers, who on Wednesday morning staged a vehicle protest at the lack of assistance.

Palma's councillor for economic promotion and employment, Rodrigo Romero, said on Wednesday that the first thing that businesses will have to do is certify losses they have incurred. All those who meet this requirement will receive a 50% discount on rental in Mercapalma and on the vehicle entry and exit rates. He added that the discount cannot be applied retrospectively, which the companies have demanded. State decree does not permit this.

The protest consisted of 52 trucks. Coinciding with the rush hour, it caused traffic jams. A further protest is scheduled for April 15, the Wednesday protest having been called at short notice because the national government delegation's authorisation wasn't received until Tuesday.

The president of the wholesalers, Marga Vanrell, said that the town hall had yet to give any news; there was a three-hour meeting on Monday that didn't result in any town hall statement. "The mayor has made some remarks about wanting to reach an agreement and councillor Romero says that aid will be given. But in the meantime, no one confirms anything. No agreement is reached and we are not given anything in writing."

Mercapalma made a profit of 1.7 million euros in 2020. This was a year during which "we had to keep companies open and bear losses". "But now no one can claim anything. Neither the mayor nor the councillor has deigned to come and give an explanation."

Vanrell demanded that there is a meeting with the town hall, Council of Mallorca and Balearic government. A sum of 855 million euros has been received by the government to distribute among various sectors, but the agri-food sector is excluded. This is because, it has been argued, the sector is less dependent on tourism. "But we have shown the drop in sales that all companies in this sector have suffered. It is clear that we are not disguising anything."

* Palma town hall is a 54% shareholder in Mercapalma; the remaining 46% is held by the state food production and distribution company Mercasa.