Warm autumn for Renfe. The operator’s machinists will begin this Thursday the first of the eight strike days that they have called for September 30 and October 1, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11 and 12. Some mobilizations that have already forced the railway operator to cancel 892 AVE and Long and Medium Distance trains during the first four days.
In the services AVE and Long Distance the minimum services are 72%. Consequently, Renfe has canceled 267 of the 970 trains scheduled for those four days. In Medium Distance trains an average of 65% of the usual services have been established. Thus, out of 1,786 trains scheduled for those days, 625 circulations will be canceled.
Meanwhile, for Cercanías trains, minimum services of 75% will be set at peak times and 50% the rest of the day. All this after the National Court has lowered this percentage, initially set by the Government at 100%. An “excess” according to the Hearing that was contested by the machinists’ union.
The reasons for the strike
Semaf has called these mobilizations to protest against what it considers to be a failure to comply with the Renfe Group’s Collective Agreement, with regard to new incorporations and processes of mobility and integration of personnel. The union denounces that in recent months the cancellation of trains has been constant due to the lack of cabin personnel.
Renfe confirms that more trains are being canceled than usual, but attributes this reality to a “one-off” decline in the number of train drivers caused by the increase in medical losses related to Covid and the dilation of training processes motivated by the capacity limitations “both in classrooms and, above all, in driving cabs”, they explain from the operator. According to Renfe’s calculations, these capacity limitations have caused the training periods for train drivers to increase by 45%. Even so, the public company plans to end the year with 5,720 drivers, compared to 5,250 in 2020.
For passengers on commercial trains whose train is affected by the strike, Renfe will offer them, whenever possible, to travel on another train at the closest time to the one purchased.
In the event that they do not want to make the trip, they will be able to cancel or change their ticket for another date without any cost. Cancellation or change operations can be carried out in all Renfe sales channels.
The Railway Union (SF) has also called for partial stoppages, the same days as semaf, although in its case starting on Friday, October 1. These stoppages will be partial, between 07:00 and 09:00 and between 18:00 and 20:00.