The fall-out from the decision by the Manacor-based pearls firm, Majorica, to seek court protection from its creditors continued yesterday with the announcement that trade unions were calling for strike action. The main CC.OO union, which represents the bulk of Majorica's 500 employees said that a strike had been called for this week. Meanwhile, the UGT union, said that they would be taking legal action against the company's owners. The Balearic government, which has fought for the last three months to arrange a rescue package for the firm, admitted yesterday that Majorica was in a crisis situation. However, the government believes that the Manacor firm is a viable proposition and feels that a buyer will be found. Last week it was reported that an unknown group of companies were interested in bidding for Majorica. The name of the consortium or its intentions have not been made clear although it is known that the Balearic government has been in contact with their representatives regarding a possible sale. Much of the company's key export markets were deeply hit by the September 11 attacks. Majorica announced yesterday that orders had fallen by a record 35 percent since the attacks and that they were having serious problems trying to keep the company afloat. But unions blame bad management and say that at the moment company owners are only interested in recouping their losses which are said to be considerable. The Balearic Minister for Employment Eberhard Grosske said yesterday that he had been holding talks with union officials and said his department were working around the clock to save the jobs of more than 500 employees. Manacor has been left stunned by the crisis which has engulfed Majorica. For many years it was a flagship company and tours of the factory by visiting heads of state and even royalty were frequent. One of the first casualties of Majorica's woes has been the ITB tourism trade fair in Germany. The pearls company has announced that they will not be attending. Last year they had a stand there and Majorica has always tried to have a large presence at the fair, as Germany is one of their principal export markets. One employee said yesterday “we thought that we had jobs for life, we never thought that this could happen to Majorica. It is such a shame.”

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