Vienna (dpa / lby) - After failed collective bargaining, Austria's railway workers shut down train traffic on Monday with a 24-hour warning strike. The state-run Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) announced that cross-border connections with Germany, Switzerland and other countries would be affected by the measure from Sunday. "There will be failures in the Nightjet and Euronight connections from today, Sunday evening, until Tuesday morning," it said in a statement.
The vida trade union, which represents around 50,000 railway workers, had demanded a flat-rate wage increase of 400 euros, which, according to employee representatives, would mean an average increase of around 12 percent. The Chamber of Commerce, which conducts negotiations on the employer side, recently improved its offer to 8.4 percent. Inflation in Austria was eleven percent year-on-year in October.
On Sunday morning, both sides said the talks had failed for the time being and blamed each other. "We are fighting for a sustainable inflation adjustment, which in the course of skyrocketing prices will primarily relieve lower and middle incomes more," said vida chief negotiator Gerhard Tauchner. The union argued that current entry-level salaries are sometimes below the poverty line. "I have no understanding for this strike," said ÖBB boss Andreas Matthä. The current wage offer is higher than in all other sectors.