Railways, Trade and Co. – Austria appears to be a strike country

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Never before has work in three sectors been temporarily halted in one week. The railway workers in particular have maneuvered themselves into a side track from which they will find it difficult to get out again.

“It has been a different kind of negotiation that is not solution-oriented. That would never have happened before,” Thomas Scheiber, who has been negotiating the wages of the 65 railway companies for 20 years, laments the style of the talks so far. Despite a bid of 8.44 percent – certainly not small compared to many other industries (see chart below) – the vida union staged a first warning strike.

They stick to their demand of “400 euros more for everyone”, vida boss Roman Hebenstreit confirmed in the Ö1 “Mittagsjournal”. Only 208 euros would be offered. Hebenstreit justifies that the workers’ wishes would lead to double-digit wage increases by saying that Deutsche Bahn has “catching up to do” in many areas.

Tickets should not be more expensive
Scheiber will now discuss with the heads of the railway companies on Tuesday how to proceed. vida is eager to continue negotiations quickly, but the other party is sceptical. “We rule out raising ticket prices because of this,” says Scheiber, who also wonders whether it is justified that a wage dispute is paralyzing the infrastructure of the entire country. He therefore also wants help from the presidents of the social partners.

So far, many sectors have already managed to negotiate wages despite huge price increases. Only in the case of brewers, railway workers and possibly in trade did union actions with strikes show a picture that was unusual for Austria. As reported, ÖBB and Westbahn will voluntarily increase wages by 7.5 percent as of December 1, even without an agreement between the social partners.

Source: Krone

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