Renfe Machinists Call Five-Day Strike After New AVE Line Inauguration.
THE Spanish Union of Train Machinists and Railway Helpers (Semaf) has called a five-day strike in February and March to denounce the workforce cuts and the lack of maintenance of the trains which is forcing the suspension of services.
The move comes hours after Spanish President Pedro Sánchez attended the inauguration of the new high-speed train line between Madrid, Elche and Orihuela which Renfe reported that there will initially be four daily AVE services scheduled, two in each direction between Madrid Puerta de Atocha and the Elche Alta Velocity and Orihuela Miguel Hernández stations.
According to Semaf, more than 700 jobs have been lost in the last year and this personnel deficit will increase in view of what they consider to be null replacement forecasts for 2021 and the failure to comply with the Renfe Employment Plan with “deliberate” delays of all employees.
The union states that the complete maintenance of the trains is not being carried out, which increases the number of trains that are not in safe conditions to provide the service and eliminate them from the services.
“The only solution that the company offers is to pressure workers to drive trains that are not in safe conditions to circulate, in addition to coercing the drivers to work shifts that do not correspond to them, to cover the personnel deficit. Increasing the risk assumed by company workers and users and continuously violating labour rights,” says the union.
The train drivers denounce that there is a continuous loss of jobs that will make it impossible to recover the circulations prior to the coronavirus pandemic, as there are not enough personnel to cope with the circulation of the number of trains scheduled daily.
Semaf has also accused Renfe of pressuring workers to drive trains that are not in safe conditions to circulate and of coercing the drivers to work shifts that are not theirs in order to cover the personnel shortage.
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