Pain in Spain: Rail strike planned for December 20th to disrupt Christmas getaway

Europe

Renfe workers have called a strike for Friday December 20th on the day that tens of thousands of travellers head home for the holidays.

The industrial action will last 23 hours and could affect dozens of trains across Spain.

The strike is just the latest in a year of strike action by Renfe workers supported  by  the CGT union in protest at new working contracts and understaffing.

Minimum services have not yet been set by the Ministry of Fomento (Infrastructure and transport) so it is not yet known how many trains will be cancelled.

But last minute cancellations promised to prove problematic to travellers trying to get home for the Christmas holidays.

It is one of the busiest travel days of the year and many people have booked tickets weeks in advance. Those who discover their service is cancelled may struggle to find alternative routes on trains that are already booked up.

Here’s what you are entitled to if your train is cancelled:

If your train is cancelled more than 48 hours in advance you can request a full refund or accept the alternative provided by Renfe, which could be a seat on the next available train or on a replacement bus.

If your train is cancelled within 48 hours in advance of the journey then by law the railway company is obliged to offer the traveller alternative means to reach their destination, either on another train or the ticket price of an alternative service.

If your train is cancelled within 4 hours of the journey start time then you will be entitled to compensation of double the amount you paid for the ticket.

 If your journey is delayed you could be entitled to compensation dependent on the length of the delay and the rail company will be responsible for covering costs during the delay (such as if you require an overnight stay somewhere).

Keep all tickets and receipts

To make a claim for compensation you must keep all the receipts, for food, drink, lodging as well as tickets paid for alternative travel.

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