Renfe cancelled 271 trains after workers organised a strike on Friday, December 20. The strike was convened by the CGT trade union on a day known for a high number of travellers due to Christmas celebrations and the start of the weekend.
However, Renfe wasn’t able to accommodate the increase in passenger mobility and cancelled all trains that weren’t included in minimum services, including 39 AVE trains. Minimum services are established by the Ministry of Development, that estimated 28,231 travellers would be affected by the strike. The train company offered to relocate affected travellers and, if possible, change their tickets to travel at a different time or date. In Malaga Province, local trains were reduced by 50 per cent, leaving commuters stranded and unable to get to work.
The Union mobilised after condemning privatizations, outsourcing and a lack of personnel. Security personnel at a train station in Malaga spoke out about the strike and one train worker said: “The strike is mainly being carried out by the employees selling tickets. When their colleagues retire, no one is hired in their place and the workload just keeps increasing. It’s the same for all of us, it’s very common for trains to be running without any security aboard. We think the strike is for a good cause.” He then added: “The thing is, no one thinks security is necessary until something happens. Then, we are blamed for not being there to help.”
Commuters returning home from work voiced their concerns to EWN. A builder who relies on the train to get to work every day said: “This strike is at the expense of all workers.”