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BARCELONA, Spain – Railway workers of Barcelona’s Metro went on strike Monday, February 22, to demand pay increases and better job security, creating major traffic jams just as the world’s biggest mobile fair kicked off.
Organizers of the Mobile World Congress, which gathers together more than 800 telecoms companies and close to 100,000 attendees, were forced to lay on special bus services for those depending on public transport.
The strike, coupled with rain, sparked traffic jams of up to 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) just outside the Spanish beachside city, according to regional transport authorities.
Metro workers laid on the bare-minimum service, with half of all trains operating at peak time and just 30% the rest of the day.
They are asking for a pay increase and for management to convert part-time contracts into full-time ones, and are also due to stop work on Wednesday.
Bus service employees are also planning to down tools on Tuesday and Thursday, while on Friday it will be the turn of rail workers.
The Mobile World Congress is a major event for Barcelona, earning the city some 436 million euros ($482 million) last year. – Rappler.com