Registered letters to Renfe train drivers to ensure minimum services this Monday
Renfe has opened 31 disciplinary files on workers in Catalonia and Valencia for not turning up to work on Thursday and Friday
BarcelonaSpanish state rail company Renfe train drivers will go on a third day of strike this Monday. There is uncertainty as to whether they will cause the same levels of disruption as last week, when commuter service Rodalies suffered delays, crowding and some hours of circulatory cuts due to the breach of fixed minimum services, according to the company. That is why during the whole weekend Renfe claims it has informed drivers who are required to turn up today in various ways: 300 letters have been delivered by hand and 530 registered faxes have been sent, as well as 1,600 certified notifications via e-mail through company Lleida.net
The communications are mainly focused on commuter trains in Catalonia and Valencia, where the breach of minimum services had a greater impact on mobility. Among these train drivers there are 31 who may be disciplined, according to the railway operator. The majority union calling the strike, the Semaf, blamed the company for not having planned minimum services properly last week and not having delivered the letters to many drivers.
During this strike, the courts have established the following minimum services: working service 24 hours a day for commuter trains except on 4 October, when it will only be guaranteed between 5am and 9am, 2pm and 4pm, and 6pm and 10pm; and on Thursday 7 October, when 85% of the service will be guaranteed between 7am and 9am, 12pm and 4pm, and 6pm and 10pm. On the other hand, the Ministry of Transport guarantees 65% of medium-distance trains and 72% of high speed trains.
The union calls for the reinstatement of all train frequencies suppressed due to the pandemic and taking on more staff, and is against the commuter trains in Catalonia being taken over by the Catalan government, concerned over the change's possible consequences for workers. In this sense, it reproaches Renfe for its "silence and inaction" and criticises the fact it leaves them "unprotected" .
On the other hand, Catalan vice-president and minister of Digital Policies and Territory, Jordi Puigneró, has defended this weekend that the "dignity" of Renfe commuter trains will only arrive when the State "transfers the service completely to the Generalitat". According to him, if someone has any doubt about the difference between how the Generalitat and the State manage the same service, "they only have to get on a Renfe train and then a Generalitat train to see the difference"
The exchange of reproaches has meant that even some of the train drivers and union members have wanted to explain on social networks. "What has led us to strike has been that the company has not recovered the trains removed during the pandemic, worsening facilities, lack of staff in all groups. The constant privatisation of the sector...", said in a Twitter thread Joan Rodriguez, Renfe worker and union member.