The Region of Madrid resumes the training of 45 new Metro drivers, which was suspended by the health crisis
Next week, the Region of Madrid will resume the training of 45 new Metro train drivers, which was suspended by the onset of the health crisis and the extraordinary measures adopted by the declaration of the state of alarm regarding the evolution of COVID-19.
Specifically, next Tuesday 2 June, the 30 classes of the future drivers will resume, and on 23 June the remaining 15 classes will resume. It is expected that they will be able to progressively join the service in the coming months.
This was announced today by the Regional Minister for Transport, Mobility and Infrastructure of the Region of Madrid, Ángel Garrido, after visiting the Metro clinic facilities. "We continue to work to further improve the service provided by Metro de Madrid. And to do this, one of our objectives remains to strengthen the train driver workforce," he stressed.
In this sense, Garrido has confirmed that the regional government maintains its commitment to hire more than 300 drivers to exceed the historical maximum of these professionals in the workforce (2,078 drivers in 2011).
The classes that the future train drivers were receiving were interrupted due to the declaration of the state of alert, although the instructors have maintained telematic contact with the students during this time, with the intention of reinforcing the knowledge acquired.
From next Tuesday, and during Phase 1 of the de-escalation, the classes will be given online. When Phase 2 begins, the training will be classroom-based, eminently practical, and will take place on different company premises, taking all the measures stipulated by the health authorities to ensure the health and safety of students and instructors. In fact, the groups created previously have been subdivided so that there are no more than eight students in the classes, and the number of teachers giving the training has been increased.
These 45 applicants are expected to be progressively recruited in the coming months. This will add to the 100 drivers who joined the company last year and the 360 already hired in 2016.
THE METRO DE MADRID CLINIC
During his visit, Ángel Garrido highlighted the efforts made by the regional government and Metro employees to adapt to the situation caused by the health crisis, and assessed the management carried out from the Madrid underground clinic when treating workers who showed symptoms of coronavirus or had been in contact with possible positive cases.
Since the beginning of the public health crisis, the clinic located on the Canillejas site has coordinated and managed the situation of Metro de Madrid employees who have been affected by COVID-19.
Currently, among its more than 7,000 employees, there are only 35 confirmed cases that have tested positive for coronavirus. In addition, following the protocols established by the health authorities, Metro de Madrid keeps all workers who display symptoms compatible with the disease or have had possible direct contact with positive cases under home observation.
Similarly, around 650 employees who are particularly sensitive because they suffer from other types of pathologies are removed from the on-site service or are on sick leave through Social Security. In addition to this number, Metro workers over 60 years of age, which is a little over 250, have been removed from the on-site service, as established by the health authorities.
Metro has carried out more than 219 tests among employees suspected of having contracted the virus, who have voluntarily agreed to do so. This amounts to 198 employees, who in most cases returned negative results (over 91%), so they have already begun to return to work.
The regional public company has promptly informed the workers' representatives of these actions. The unions have remained informed at all times of the health of the employees and the various measures taken, following the protocols of the health authorities, to preserve the safety of employees and travellers. Among the most recent is the placement of a thermal camera at the entrance to the company's Command Post to detect whether any worker has a fever.
Likewise, since 8 March, Metro has been applying extraordinary cleaning and disinfection measures, as is the case with the rest of the public transport system in the Madrid Region. Specifically, daily disinfection is carried out on trains and stations, paying special attention both to the elements that passengers may come into contact with on their daily journeys (handrails, seats and armrests or door-operated controls, among other surfaces) and to the train drivers' cabins and other working areas on the underground network.
The company has also reduced the number of staff providing in-person service on the network and has encouraged teleworking among office staff to minimise the risk of coronavirus infection. In addition, it promotes greater time flexibility to facilitate the work-life balance in the case of employees caring for children under 12 years of age, and people with disabilities or family members up to the second degree of consanguinity or affinity who, because of age or illness, cannot look after themselves.