The Small Business Association of Manacor said yesterday that it would call on its members to join a demonstration today to protest at sweeping job cuts, at probably one of Majorca's best known firms, Majorica. The owners of the artificial pearls company announced last month that it would slash its workforce by 40 percent and almost 200 employees would be redundant out of a total workforce of 500. The company has since announced that as a result of its financial difficulties it will have problems paying its workforce. This forced the intervention of the Deputy leader of the Balearic government Pere Sampol who has managed to gain assurances that staff will be paid. Thousands of people are expected to take part in today's protest march including some local officials. Trade unions claim that the redundancies are not needed and that the company is profitable. But management disgree claiming that the September 11 attacks hit their export markets hard. Much of their revenue comes from the sale of pearls at duty free shops at airports around the world. The local government is said to be deeply concerned at the fate of Majorica, one of the largest employers in the area and one of the flagships of Majorcan industry. The job cuts could not have come at a worse time with unemployment in the Balearics already at record levels. Unions claim that the 200 job losses will naturally have an indirect impact on suppliers. Sampol has said that one of Majorica's great assets is their work force and should be maintained at all costs. He has praised their spirit and could take part in today's protest. The demonstration starts in the centre of Manacor at 7.30p.m. The police warned that many streets will have to be closed to traffic. A number of police will be on duty but officers do not expect to be called on to make arrests.

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