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Austria: No train service today – Railway workers demand pay rises

Austria: No train service today – Railway workers demand pay rises

Warning strike 50,000 Austrian rail workers are striking today, affecting a million passengers in a country not used to such strikes, after negotiations over wage increases failed.

“No train can run throughout Austria and across the border,” regarding international connections, ÖBB, which serves many European destinations with night trains, wrote on its website.

The strike affects transport at all levels, from public transport to regional routes and long-distance night trains as well as commercial train lines.

“Employers are fooling staff with a new so-called offer” after two months of talks, the Vida union representing rail workers said in a statement, initially announcing a 24-hour strike from midnight yesterday, Sunday, until midnight tonight.

We continue to demand a revision of the collective agreement for a monthly increase of 400 euros net, while inflation is now at 11%,” said Gerhard Tauchner, who is leading the negotiations and hopes a new meeting will be set for tomorrow, Tuesday.

Strikes are rare in Austria

The union complains that wages start at “very low”, at 1,356 euros net per month for night train workers of trains. The managing director of the national company ÖBB Andreas Mate denounced the strike. The employer offered employees a 1,000-euro lump sum and a 208-euro pay rise, “the highest offer” against inflation “overall,” Mate said.

In Austria strikes are rare thanks to a system of social partners, but dialogue is now very difficult due to soaring prices.

Wage increases are usually determined in sector-specific negotiations between the Federal Chamber of Commerce (WKÖ), which brings together all employers, and the workers’ union, APE-MPE reported, citing AFP and Reuters.

In rail transport, whose collective agreement covers 65 companies, the last multi-day strike took place in 2003.

Source: News Beast



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