Rail workers in Spain call four days of strikes over busiest holiday travel days

Madrid, July 30, AZERTAC

This Wednesday, July 31st, will see the first of four planned stoppages on Spain’s rail service as workers called out by CGT union down tools in protest at new working contracts and understaffing, according to The Local.

The strikes have been called to coincide with the busiest travel days, with the first called for Wednesday when a huge proportion of workers clock off for the summer and head off to the coast.

The strikes consist of two four-hour periods - between noon and 4pm and 8pm and midnight - which will affect dozens of trains. Three more strike days have been called, August 14, 31 and September 1, chosen because they too are busy travel days. The first sees travelers heading off for the national holiday on August 15th and the last two dates mark the big return after the summer holidays.

Spain’s Ministry of Fomento (Infrastructure and transport) said Renfe must guarantee minimum services during the stoppages with 75 percent of commuter trains running during rush hours and 50 percent during other times. For long distance high speed train, 78 percent of services are guaranteed and on mid-range, 65 percent of trains will be running.

Renfe announced that it had so far cancelled a total of 1,152 trains - 477 medium distance, 230 high speed long distance (AVE) and 445 freight trains.

Those booked on trains that are cancelled will be offered, where possible, an alternative train or route as close as possible to the scheduled journey, insisted Renfe. But travelers will also be offered a full refund or chance to change the ticket for another date at no extra cost.

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