Alfa and Intercidades train bars reopen on Thursday

Since March 18, Alfas and Intercidades do not have bar service

The bars of the Alfa and Intercidades trains will reopen on Thursday, after a meeting today that was attended by CP and Risto Rail, from the LSG/Lufhansa group, which provides this service, according to the union.

In a statement, the Federation of Agriculture, Food, Drinks, Hotel and Tourism Unions of Portugal (Fesaht) indicated that “at the meeting held today at the Ministry of Labour, the companies Risto Rail, Ltd. and CP Comboios de Portugal, SA, they pledged to reopen the bars of the Alfa Pendular and Intercidades trains next Thursday, with the guarantee of work for all workers and the payment of salaries at 100%”.

Fesaht also recalled that today “workers' plenaries are held at the Porto/Campanhã and Lisbon/Santa Apolónia stations to make known some details of the agreement”.

On 6 August, the organization said CP was willing to accept the “immediate resumption of 100% service” in long-haul train bars, allowing the 120 workers at Risto Rail to return to work.

“CP informed us of a proposal to resume the service at 100%, which for us is a novelty”, said Francisco Figueiredo, director of Fesaht, to Lusa that day, after a plenary session, at the operator's headquarters.

The official said that the operator "now even admits the reinforcement of workers on the trains, to improve hygiene, cleanliness and protection", alerting, however, that "there are still proposals and counterproposals and divergence of information" and announcing that a meeting was scheduled on Monday [today] at the Ministry of Labor, to help resolve this issue.

On the 15th of July, Francisco Figueiredo reported on a meeting that took place between the unions and Risto Rail, concessionaire for the service of bars and restaurants on CP trains, in which the company said that it would not put “one more cent” in Portugal .

At issue is the suspension of the service, due to Covid-19, which led to CP no longer, according to the union leader, to pay a monthly fee of nearly 120 thousand euros to the company.

“As a measure to prevent contacts and guarantee compliance with measures of social distancing, resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, CP was forced to suspend the provision of services on board the Long Distance, Alfa Pendular and Intercidades trains, since last March 19, 2020”, said, in turn, CP, in written response to Lusa.

According to the same official source, in June the operator “started negotiations with the service provider [Risto Rail] with a view to resuming the bar service, in those trains, in line with the current pandemic scenario and the constraints resulting from it”.

The spokeswoman for the LSG group, Lufthansa's catering brand, which owns Risto Rail, recalled that this company “has not been providing services on board CP trains since 19 March”, which led to the decision to “putting the 120 workers on 'lay-off'”.

The LSG group stressed that the decision to suspend the service was taken by CP, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and that, after the first measures of decontamination, “Risto Rail contacted the operator immediately to resume activities under the contractual terms. Despite several proposals from Risto Rail and meetings with DGERT [General Directorate for Employment and Labor Relations], no agreement was reached”, according to the same source.

“Our last proposal was clear,” said the same source, noting that the company “is ready for a partial resumption of bar service by November 30 (as requested by CP) if the operator is prepared for a full return to activity in December, so that all workers can then go back to work”.