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Week of rail strikes begins across Spain

Minimum services will be guaranteed on all networks, with a 24-hour stoppage on Thursday

An empty platform at Madrid's Chamartín station on Monday. Ampliar foto
An empty platform at Madrid's Chamartín station on Monday. EFE

A week of planned strikes by rail workers at Renfe and Adif – the respective state managers of trains and tracks — began Monday with the number of Cercanías commuter trains reduced by half between 7am and 9am on lines in the Madrid region. High-speed AVE services were reduced by 25 percent while in Catalonia the Rodalies regional network has fixed services of 66 percent during the 6-9am and 5-8.30pm rush hours, with 33 percent of normal frequency during the rest of the day for the duration of the strike, which has been called by the CGT labor union and the Federal Rail Workers Union against plans to break up the two nationalized railway companies into smaller units.

Renfe put adherence to the stoppage on Monday at three percent while the unions said 70 percent of workers had heeded the call to down tools. The stoppages are scheduled for the same time periods on Tuesday and Wednesday, with a full 24-hour strike planned on Thursday, the day before a national holiday. Further strikes will take place on November 4, 8, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25 and 29, with additional 24-hour stoppages on December 5 and 20.

The Public Works Ministry has fixed minimum services of 72 percent on AVE long-distance services, meaning of the 1,139 trains scheduled to travel over the course of this week 821 will do so without disruption. Renfe's website advises passengers to check schedules for medium- and long-distance services when buying tickets. Madrid's Cercanías network will only guarantee a 50-percent service, rising to 75 percent in rush hours. For medium-distance journeys, 63 percent of normal services will run.