NATIONAL rail network users in Spain are bracing for travel disruptions as strike action to take place this week threatens ripple effects on passenger service across the country.
After negotiations to improve working conditions for Renfe staff members ended in deadlock, the three unions representing Renfe workers called for strikes, specifically today, Monday November 7 and Friday, November 11, that will affect the cercanias, the mid-distance and long-distance train services.
In total, Renfe has cancelled 565 trains: 171 AVE and long distance, and 394 medium distance.
In a recently released statement by the General Confederation of Labour (CGT) trade union that represents Renfe workers, the strike action has been called to: “end professional discrimination with the double and triple scales established in the previous collective agreement, stop the increase in the level of employment that puts an end to the gradual professional railway dismantling, and in defence of the public and social railway”.
In short, the union wants the Spanish rail company to employ more staff since the current levels are insufficient to cover the demand, as well as see to a general improvement in the working conditions of the workers and a rise in their wages.
In an attempt to avoid potential travel chaos for thousands of Spanish commuters, Spain’s Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (MITMA) has stipulated that a minimum service needed to be made available for commuters.
According to the Ministry Resolution, the minimum essential services have been established at 75% during rush hour on Cercanias trains. The rest of the day’s usual service will operate at 50%.
In Media Distancia and Avant trains, an average of 65% of the usual services are established, and in Alta Velocidad (High Speed) and Long Distancia trains, 72%.
With respect to Freight trains, 25% of the usual service will run.
The Resolution of Minimum Services can be consulted on the Renfe website.
It includes all the mid-distance and AVE, Avlo, Alvia, Euromed, and intercity trains that will run each day to their usual timetable.