The Renfe machinists’ strike, which this Monday has again generated collapses in several stations in Barcelona and also road traffic retentions at various entrances to the metropolitan area, has managed to agree with ERC, Junts and Comuns on the importance of promoting the transfer of the suburban service, Rodalies Renfe, to the Generalitat. The decentralization of the service is a claim that the Catalan administration has historically maintained and that in recent times has added other voices, such as that of the Valencian president Ximo Puig. But at the same time it is an idea that generates rejection in the machinists’ union, Semaf, which uses this possible change in management as one of the reasons for the strike.
“The Spanish State does not take care of public services in Catalonia. Rodalies is an example, but we could put others,” said the vice-president of the Generalitat, Jordi Puignéro, who also has mobility skills. In an interview in Catalunya Ràdio, the visible head of Junts in the Government has ensured that the transfer of railway powers will be his “battle horse” this legislature, at the same time that he has indicated that the Government’s claim is a complete management, that include everything from infrastructures to sufficient funding and also personnel. Since 2009, his department has been in charge of designing the schedule and frequency policy.
In similar terms, Marta Vilalta, ERC spokesperson, has spoken, without placing it as a central issue, she has indicated that the decentralization of the neighborhoods will be an issue to be discussed in the negotiation of the General Budgets. “Urge is the transfer of powers in Rodalies and adequate financing. These are the infrastructures that should be on the negotiating tables. They are mobility services that affect thousands and thousands of citizens of our country who deserve quality services and not inefficient as we have seen so many times, “said the Republican.
Despite this, Vilalta has preferred not to detail the specific request that his party makes to the central government in this matter. “The concretions related to budgets will be made during the negotiation,” he said. But he has made it clear that the spirits in ERC are alight on this issue. “We are fed up, very fed up with false promises that later do not materialize,” he said. “It is an important issue and one that will be on the table.”
The Commons have also held a strong position in favor of Rodalies’ transfer of service. After they announced last August that it was one of their requests in the negotiation of the General Budgets, this Monday the spokesperson of the formation, Joan Mena, has placed the Catalan management of rail services as one of the key points for his party . “Catalonia needs more victories in self-government,” said the spokesman. Along with this, Catalunya en Comú also calls for an increase in inheritance tax up to 15% and a new housing law that includes limits on the rental price. Regarding transfers, Mena has also defended that the Generalitat control ports and airports.
The transfer of Rodalies has become in this start of the course a great consensus among the majority of Catalan parties, since the PSC is not opposed either. However, the Socialists have wanted to show nuances through the mouth of the spokesperson Alicia Romero. The transfer is “on the table of the two governments”, the deputy has indicated, but has assured that the argument that this in Catalonia would be better “is not solid” and “remains to be seen”. “It would be good if there was a rigorous work and that it detailed how the Generalitat wants to manage it,” said Romero.
The socialist spokesperson also recalled that Catalonia now has most of the mobility skills, so it is she who must answer for the traffic jams that have occurred this Monday, with retentions far beyond the city of Barcelona. “We want to know what the Generalitat wants to do, beyond raising barriers on the highways, because this is an urgent issue,” he explained. “Anyone who moves around Catalonia knows that it is being much more expensive since they got up [los peajes]”, he added, to then demand the Government to put solutions as soon as possible.
This Monday has been a new day of chaos in the railway network of the whole of Spain, with very pronounced affectations in Barcelona. In the Rodalies service, 53% of the scheduled service has been provided until 9 a.m., according to Renfe data, which has once again attributed the failure to comply with the minimum services to the drivers, who according to their version avoid notifications so they do not appear to grant strike services. Last Thursday and Friday, when the stoppages were for 24 hours and not during strips like this Monday, the Sants station was collapsed and thousands of passengers were trapped. During this morning some trains have left, but the number of canceled trips in Catalonia has reached 24.