TRAIN drivers have called off their strike planned for this coming Wednesday (March 23), but have announced they will continue with the strike scheduled for Easter Monday (March 28).
The drivers' union, SEMAF, planned both strikes to coincide with the busiest Easter holiday periods – workers who live in regions where Maundy Thursday is a bank holiday would typically seek to leave for their long weekend breaks on Wednesday night, whilst those who live in parts of Spain where Easter Monday is a bank holiday would need to travel home that night for work the next day.
Good Friday is a public holiday in all regions in Spain.
SEMAF's members have axed their strike for Wednesday, but drivers who belong to one of Spain's main two unions, the labourers' commission (CCOO) will continue – and both unions have maintained the Easter Monday strike.
Both unions called the two strikes to protest over the 'incomprehensible paralysis' of applying the new collective working conditions agreement on the part of rail board RENFE, three months after it was signed and sealed by all parties.
RENFE, owned by the ministry of infrastructure and public works, had announced wage freezes and mass redundancies, but after a series of rail strikes last year by train drivers and other related staff, a binding deal on working conditions and pay was drawn up after long meetings with union representatives.
But the terms agreed have never been put into practice, complain the CCOO and SEMAF.
Until they are, periodic strikes will continue, they say.
Some rail traffic disruption is expected the Wednesday before Easter, and this will be multiplied on Monday, but by law the rail board employees are required to guarantee at least 'minimum services'.
As yet, the time slots for the strike or the percentage of trains which will still be running have not been announced.