The final two remaining days of industrial action by Majorca railway staff have been avoided after unions and the SFM railway company reached an agreement last night. A further wave of strike action was planned for December 31 and January 3 in protest over poor safety measures on board the trains and the new shift system which has been introduced by the introduction of more trains operating to and from Marratxi. A deal was reached after the Balearic Transport Minister Francesc Quetglas stepped in to arbitrate. He said last night that he was “satisfied” with the results after five hours of talks. The two 24-hour stoppages would have caused chaos to thousands of commuters. In accordance with the deal, a Balearic rail transport security commission is to be set up which will also incorporate the Soller railway. SFM Majorcan railway company bosses also agreed to have the shift system for 2003 drawn up by January 15 and hours worked will be controlled by computer next year. The company has also agreed to set up a traffic control centre in Marratxi - the unions backed the move while engineers said there was no need yesterday the company agreed to set the centre up. UGT general workers union bosses said that all of the workers' basic expectations have been met and that a great deal was achieved during yesterday's meeting. The CC.OO workers commission were equally pleased but surprised at the “general lack of confidence” the railway company appears to have in its staff, adding that both parties need to work much closer together in the future.

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