Barcelona metro strike cancelled and will not interfere with the Mobile World Congress
The metro strike organised by employees of Barcelona Public Transport (TMB) who were demanding a salary increase has been cancelled. The bus strike is still planned, although after the metro’s cancellation, bus workers would be also considering doing so. The strike was coinciding with the world’s main trade fair and conference of the mobile phone and mobile technology industry. However, it was not affecting taxis, tramways, airport buses, and commuter trains. The strike will only affect urban buses. The underground will be operating as normal. During rush hour buses will function at 50% of their capacity and the rest of the day at 20%.
Barcelona (ACN).– The kick off of the Mobile World Congress will not coincide with that of a strike by Barcelona bus and metro employees, who were asking for a salary increase despite the prediction of a recession. Finally, metro employees have accepted the company’s offer and they have cancelled the strike. The strike would only be supported by bus employees; although this Saturday some of them would be re-considering their position after the metro strike cancellation. If finally bus employees continue with their announced plans and go on strike, Barcelona city regular bus service will be running at 50% of its capacity at rush hour and at 20% during the rest of the day. However, all the other transport means such as metro, taxis, airport buses, commuter trains, and tramways will operate as normal.
The MWC is the world’s main trade fair for the mobile phone and mobile technology industry. It will run between Monday February 27th and Thursday March 1st. The MWC will bring more than 60,000 professionals to the Catalan capital, most of them executives from more than 200 different countries. Although many of them use limousines and taxis to attend the congress, a large number of participants are still expected to use the metro and buses.
The Catalan Government and the Barcelona City Council have been asking trade unions for “common sense” and “responsibility”, in order to avoid any harm to such an important asset for Barcelona and Catalonia such as the MWC. In addition, the main trade unions in Catalonia, UGT and CCOO, have also asked Barcelona bus and metro workers to be responsible, although they have insisted on their right to strike. However, the majority of the bus and underground workers are members of the anarchist union CGT.
Besides, in the course of the negotiations, last Thursday the management of Barcelona Public Transport (TMB) offered its employees a 1.2% salary increase in 2012. It also offered to pay the equivalent amounts for 2011 and 2010 in 2013 and 2014. However, bus employees rejected the salary increase, as it does not come close to meeting their demands. The metro employees organised a referendum on Friday and Saturday to decide if they were going on strike on Monday. Finally, 74% of them decided to accept the offer and cancel the metro strike, which initially was planned to last from Monday to Thursday, during the entirety of the MWC. Bus employees would be decided to continue with the protest but every day they will organise an assembly and will decide if they will continue with the action.
On Monday February 27th, all the metro lines and taxis in Barcelona will be operational. Only the city buses will be on strike, which does not affect other buses such as the airport shuttle. In addition, all trains from RENFE and FGC (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat) will run. At rush hour, buses will function at 50% of their normal capacity from 6.30 am to 9.30 am and from 5.00 pm to 8.00 pm. The rest of the time, they will function at 20% of their capacity.