Commuter trains strike called off as Renfe and drivers reach agreement
Protest has led to severe disruptions in services and heavier road traffic
The Rodalies commuter rail network train drivers strike was called off on Thursday evening as trade union Semaf and Renfe, the Spanish government-owned public company managing the service, reached an agreement on workers' demands.
The stoppage was called for eight days, and three were still remaining: October 8, 11, and 12. Yet, the service is expected to be provided as usual from Friday after the deal.
Workers want more drivers to be hired to cover vacancies and are against the management of Rodalies possibly being transferred from the Spanish government to Catalonia.
Although this is a very long-standing demand by authorities in Barcelona, and Madrid has not suggested any intention of transferring this service, drivers are striking preemptively against potentially losing their benefits.
The strike began on October 1, when the minimum services imposed by Catalonia, at 85%, were not complied with for several days leading to chaos and delays of over four hours. Thursday was the last day of the strike and for the first time, the services running approached 85%.
During the first days of the protest, over 400 trains were cancelled daily, with a service provided of about 40%.
The situation in the train network also led to heavier road traffic on the main roads surrounding Barcelona in the morning peak hour.