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Austrian railway strike threatens travel standstill

November 27, 2022

Austria's transport workers' union has called for a 24-hour warning strike, with disruptions expected on cross-border and night trains. Train drivers are demanding higher pay.

Two ÖBB workers point at screen with train schedule on it
A warning strike by Austrian transport workers is set to cause rail disruptionsImage: picture alliance / BARBARA GINDL / APA / picturedesk.com

Austria's rail traffic is set to come to a standstill due to a strike, the country's federal railway system, ÖBB, said on Sunday.

The vida transport workers' union has called for a 24-hour warning strike to start on Monday.

"After more than 12 hours of intensive talks, the [two sides] unfortunately did not manage to come to an agreement," the ÖBB statement said.

Cross-border traffic and night travel will be affected, it said. The ÖBB also warned of "individual train cancellations" on Sunday evening and on Tuesday.

The ÖBB requested travelers postpone nonessential journeys or choose alternative travel options.

What are the railway workers' demands?

Vida, which represents around 50,000 railway workers, has demanded a flat-rate wage increase of €400. Employee representatives have said this would represent an average increase of around 12%.

Austria's Chamber of Commerce has offered an increase of a little over 8%.

Austrian railway chief Andreas Matthä said: "I cannot understand this strike at all. With an offer of 8.44%, [ÖBB] has made the highest offer of any sector."

"This is clearly a malicious strike on the part of the union," he argued, adding that the ÖBB will do all it can to resume operations as soon as possible.

"We are fighting for a sustainable cost of living adjustment, which will give relief to those with lower and middle incomes in particular in the face of skyrocketing prices," said union negotiator Gerhard Tauchner.

Inflation in Austria was at 11% year-on-year in October.

sdi/wmr (dpa, Reuters)