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Contingency Plans Being Put in Place if Transit Strike Hits Barcelona during Mobile World Congress

It is becoming an increasing threat that local metro and bus workers could go out on strike in Barcelona, Spain as tens of thousands of visitors are descending on the city for the Mobile World Congress (News - Alert).

The important trade show event – the Mobile World Congress – will take place between Feb. 27 and March 1. Over 60,000 people are expected to attend, according to a report in PC Magazine.

Show organizers are trying to discourage any work stoppage. “The GSMA (News - Alert) [Groupe Speciale Mobile Association] has advised … government authorities that they should do everything to avert the strike and we have been assured that negotiations are ongoing in order to try and resolve the issues,” according to a recent GSMA press release. “The GSMA remains confident that the issues will be resolved and that there will be little, if any, impact to the Mobile World Congress.”

Nevertheless, authorities have come up with contingency plans so those attending the Mobile World Congress have “unfettered access to and from the Fira during all days of the event. … All participants will be able to arrive and depart the event safely and without disruption.”

GSMA officials are meeting with government officials from Barcelona, the Catalonian regional government, the Spanish Ministry of Industry, the Fira [the trade fair location] and the police.

Local officials from Barcelona claimed they will negotiate with the workers "up to the last second," according to local news reports monitored by PC Magazine. The two sides are next scheduled to meet on Monday.

In any case, Barcelona officials are suggesting there will be, what they call a "high minimum service level," if a strike takes place. PC Magazine says that suggests there will be “some subway and bus service.” Details have yet to be released.

The Mobile World Congress was expected to return to Barcelona annually until at least 2018 – with no suggestions the possible worker unrest will change the organization’s plans. In fact, the quality of the city’s  “transportation and hospitality infrastructure” and “the strong support of the public and private sectors" were among the reasons cited by John Hoffman (News - Alert), CEO, of GSMA Ltd., last year in a statement as to why Barcelona was selected as the site of the trade show. Companies worldwide are scheduled to show off their latest products and services during the trade show, according to TMCnet.

Ed Silverstein is a TMCnet contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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