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Spain’s national rail service Renfe calls for strikes in March

The Local Spain
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Spain’s national rail service Renfe calls for strikes in March
Renfe announces strikes for March. Photo: OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE / AFP

Renfe train drivers have called for a four-day strike in March to protest over their employment plan.

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The stoppage has been called by the Spanish Union of Railway Drivers (Semaf), who are planning three days of 24-hour strikes on March 1st, 4th and 12th.

There are also further walkouts planned throughout the day on March 6th from 7am to 10am, from 1pm to 4pm, and from 7pm to 10pm.

According to Semaf, the strike has been called due to non-compliance with contract clauses concerning working hours and the freezing of their employment plan.

Semaf argues that the paralysis of the employment plan makes it difficult for workers to change jobs within Renfe, leave the company and even for new drivers to come on board.

They also denounce that, since there are not "enough people" to cover the necessary working hours, the working day agreement is being breached.

"The working hours clause is not being met because there are not enough people coming in to cover everything, so we are exceeding working hours," the union says.

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In a statement published by the association, they point out that the Ministries of Transportation and Finance have also "frozen" the authorisations for the replacement of personnel.

"The lack of planning and interruption of HR processes are resulting in a lack of staff and train drivers, which leads to the delays of trains," they criticise.

"If we do not find a solution as soon as possible, the situation will get worse and the service will decline drastically for users."

In order to reach an agreement the union is requesting "more hiring" and the "reactivation" of the employment plan.

Renfe workers recently staged another strike at the beginning of February 2024 to denounce the agreements relating to workers’ 35-work week and elimination of income categories.

Hundreds of trains were cancelled, although Spain's Ministry of Transport agreed to maintain minimum services. 

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