Renfe strikes cause chaos and erratic conditions in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
Renfe strikes -

MADRID – Tuesday is the fourth day of the Renfe strikes in Spain. Despite the strikes being announced in advance, many stations in Barcelona, Valencia, and Madrid have led to scenes of chaos and threats. 

Renfe partially stopped work from Thursday 30 September. And, as announced, the strikes, mainly affect the timetable of the Cercanías (commuter trains). Furthermore, the strike will continue on various days until October 12. 

Chaos and erratic conditions at Spanish stations 

Although the strikes were announced in advance, they have already led to chaotic situations in various places. Furthermore, trains have been cancelled resulting in delays of over an hour. And, consequently, this is resulting in overcrowded trains where social distancing is not being respected. The Spanish news site Voz Populí writes on Tuesday about the many protests and sometimes violent incidents that are arising.

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Drivers do not adhere to minimum timetables 

However, the situation is particularly grim and chaotic in cities such as Barcelona, ​​Valencia, and Madrid’s Atocha and Chamartín stations. And, according to passengers, the cause of the atmosphere is because drivers are not adhering to the announced minimum timetable. Moreover, it was agreed Renfe would operate a minimum of 75% during peak hours. And, outside of that about half the usual timetable would be carried out. 

At some stations, dangerous situations are arising as drivers are called names and being threatened. As such, travellers have taken to Twitter showing images of these dangerous situations. 

Dissatisfaction with Renfe reorganisation 

The strike is a result of the call by the train drivers’ union Semaf, which called on its employees strike out of dissatisfaction with the loss of jobs and services and to put pressure on the implementation of the proposed employment plan. According to Semaf, Renfe has used the pandemic to cancel train services and lay off a significant part of its staff. 

Driver threats

 Full stations



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