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Fuengirola municipal bus service drivers plan strike action from 15 March
Employment

Fuengirola municipal bus service drivers plan strike action from 15 March

Staff have announced daily three-hour stoppages every day until 30 April, unless their working conditions and the organisation of the service are improved

Lorena Cádiz

Fuengirola

Friday, 8 March 2024, 15:45

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Fuengirola bus drivers have announced, through their Sindicato Libre de Transporte union, their intention to go on strike from 15 March until 30 April every day for three hours, between 7.15am and 10.15am, to demand better working conditions for a section of the staff, and general improvements to the transport service.

A total of 48 workers from the staff of UTE Urbano Fuengirola — the company which has run the municipal service since January 2023 — have signed up to the strike. The strike intention has been communicated to the ministry of Employment, Enterprise and Self-Employment of the Andalusian regional government.

According to the workers there are important differences between sections of the staff. In January 2023, when UTE Urbano Fuengirola, formed by the Interbus Group and Damas, took over the concession of the service, it subrogated the workers who were employed by the previous company. As the union stated in a communiqué, these workers maintained their previous conditions, which were set out in an agreement. On the other hand, the new workers hired by the company, who today represent more than half of the workforce, do not have an agreement, nor the same working conditions as the rest. "This has led to serious inequality and discrimination," the Sindicato Libre de Transporte union said in a statement.

However, one hundred per cent of the staff will participate in the strike. This also demands improvements in the service which was considerably transformed last year when routes were extended to the entire municipality and the bus became free for all those registered on the padrón in Fuengirola. Not surprisingly this tripled the number of users but, according to the workers, the generous move has not been properly planned, as the service is "completely saturated" due to the lack of vehicles and the high demand, which increases exponentially when the summer season begins.

Fuengirola town hall said the issue is a labour conflict between the concessionary company and its workers, "which we hope will be resolved soon". The council announced, in a statement, that it is in contact with both the service provider and the employees to analyse the demands raised to review “the labour situations that have been called into question and urge the concessionaire to correct all those that contravene the specifications governing the contract".

"Available to mediate"

"The council, in defence of the users and despite not being a party to this conflict, is available to both parties to mediate in order to avoid the announced stoppages, which in any case should be confirmed or qualified by SERCLA [a Junta-run mediation service] if there is no agreement between the company and workers".

The Hacemos Fuengirola group also spoke out against the strike announcement and expressed their support for the service workers and their demands. And they accused the town hall of "incapacity and lack of response". The group's spokesperson, José Miguel López, said: "We have been denouncing the deficiencies of the service and the terrible working conditions of the staff since the contract began, but the council and the councillor [of Transport] have done nothing but patch things up, look the other way and defend the interests of the multinational Interbús".

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