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austrian rail strike shuts down traffic throughout country
Empty tracks are seen at the central station as Austria's rail workers stage a strike that shuts down all train traffic throughout the country after last minute pay negotiations fell through in Vienna, Austria, November 28, 2022. REUTERS/Lisa Leutner

Austrian rail traffic ground to a halt from midnight, impacting around 8,000 connections and some one million passengers, as workers held a 24-hour strike on Monday in a dispute over pay.

The strike affected transport at all levels, from public transport to regional services and long-distance night trains, as well as rail freight lines.

The head of the nation’s rail network said services would be more or less back to normal by the following day.

“I don’t want to rule out the possibility of irregularities on one train or the other, but in general I expect that we will be back to serving our customers with the usual quality as of Tuesday,” OeBB chief Andreas Matthae told the ORF radio broadcaster.

Wedged between eight countries including Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, Austria is an important hub for European rail travel.

The main rail workers’ union had called for a 400 euro ($417.88) monthly pay rise for the sector’s 50,000 employees. They are being offered 208 euros more, plus a one-off payment of 1000 euros.

The union called Monday’s “warning strike” after a fifth round of negotiations fell through on Sunday.

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