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STRIKES

Strikes in Austria: How will transport and services be affected?

Austria will be hit by several strikes this week. Besides the ongoing train disruptions, workers in the trade sector have also signalled a walkout. Here's what you need to know about the disruption and your rights.

Strikes in Austria: How will transport and services be affected?
Photo: PIERRE TEYSSOT/AFP

Austria’s rail workers with ÖBB started a strike on Monday, affecting all train traffic nationwide after salary negotiations ended with no deal. 

The strike includes ÖBB trains but also some regional transport, including the S-Bahn system that goes through Vienna. In the Austrian capital, transport operated by Wiener Linien, which includes metros, buses and trams, won’t be affected.

Additionally, cross-border rail traffic and trains from Westbahn will be hurt as ÖBB also operates Austrian train stations.

Due to the all-day strike, there may also be individual train cancellations on Tuesday, November 29th. Information on this can be found in the ÖBB timetable information SCOTTY.

Vida, the trade union representing the workers, has asked for a wage increase of €400 – an average increase of around 12 percent. In response, Austria’s Chamber of Commerce offered a rise of 8 percent.

READ ALSO: Austrian railway workers set to strike after pay talks fall flat

What you should know about the rail strike

Sparschiene and other ÖBB tickets booked for travel during the strike are valid until December 5th 2022 or can be cancelled, refunded or rebooked, ÖBB said. You can do so at all ÖBB travel centres or ticket counters and at the customer service under 05-1717 9.

Westbahn is asking customers to cancel tickets, which can also be done retroactively.

It’s important to know that municipal transport companies do not recognise ÖBB tickets. Exceptions include the Austria-wide climate ticket and regional climate tickets, including season tickets.

If you are stranded due to the strike, the costs for adequate hotel accommodation and taxi costs to the hotel must be covered by ÖBB. There are no claims for compensation for delays if – as is currently the case – you were informed about the delay or cancellation before you bought your ticket. In the event of disputes, the Agency for Passenger Rights (APF) can provide assistance.

READ ALSO: ‘Excessive and irresponsible’: Austrian train workers threaten to strike over salary demands

According to passenger rights, a journey can also be made by other means of transport (such as taking a. bus), but the APF advises clarifying this and confirming the company will refund costs to the railway company beforehand. In any case, the agency tells consumers to keep all receipts. 

ÖBB said: “We will look at and evaluate each complaint individually. However, it must be considered that the strike was announced in advance.”

The company also said that it does not offer any replacement services. However, the CAT train in Vienna, which connects the city centre to the international airport, has a replacement making Wien-Mitte – Airport journey. 

Will there be more train strikes ahead?

That is difficult to predict. ÖBB said: “This has not yet been decided at the moment. However, we hope for an agreement between the employer and employee representatives in the near future.”

In case there are no deals between the parties, workers could announce another (and perhaps even longer) walkout.

What other strikes are coming?

Austria is not a country that sees many strikes, but the rising cost of living has put pressure on the yearly salary negotiations. 

Brewery workers are also stopping work on Monday due to failed collective bargaining negotiations. Further talks with company representatives are scheduled for December 9th.

Additionally, talks in the trade sector have been stalling, Austrian media reported. 

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

The discussions over the trade agreement are about higher salaries for around 430,000 employees and apprentices in the retail, wholesale and car trade. 

On Tuesday, further negotiations could avert strikes, but the meeting still needs to be confirmed. According to APA reports, more than 300 companies had passed strike resolutions at works meetings. 

Among them are large retail chains (including from the food industry), textile chains, wholesalers and DIY stores. The workers could walk out later this week, Vienna.at said.

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TRAVEL NEWS

UK warns arrivals from Europe to ‘expect delays’ due to border force strike

The UK government has warned that people arriving into the country from Europe over Christmas should expect delays and disruption as border guards go on strike from Friday.

UK warns arrivals from Europe to 'expect delays' due to border force strike

The UK Border Force begins a strike on Friday, December 23rd, that is expected to cause major delays and disruption at airports and some ports.

Travellers were warned in a statement: “While the government is taking action to minimise disruption, travellers due to arrive in the UK over the Christmas period are warned to expect delays and disruption over the strike action affecting border control.

“Passengers should be prepared for longer wait times and should check with their travel agents, tour operators and airlines/carriers about possible disruptions to their journey prior to travelling.

“Our eGates will continue to function as per normal and we encourage all those eligible to use them to do so, as the quickest and most efficient way to pass through border control.”

The Public and Commercial Services Union, which represents the majority of border staff at airports, has called a strike between December 23rd and 31st, not including December 27th.

READ ALSO Do UK border strikes affect ferries, trains and the Channel Tunnel?

It is part of a wave of strikes hitting the UK as workers including nurses, paramedics, postal staff and rail workers strike for pay rises to help them cope with the soaring cost of living.

The disruption is expected to be concentrated at airports, although the ferry port of Newhaven is also affected, and is likely to lead to extremely long queues at passport control – some are predicting waits of up to 10 hours.

Affected sites are; Birmingham Airport, Cardiff Airport, Gatwick Airport, Glasgow Airport, Heathrow Airport – Terminals 2,3,4,5, Manchester Airport and Port of Newhaven.

It could also cause some flight cancellations and delays if passengers are not able to disembark at UK airports – travellers are advised to check with their airline before going to the airport.

The UK government has drafted in some members of the military to help run passport control, but this is likely to be a very limited service. 

Those travelling to the UK should also be aware of significant disruption on the railways, also due to strike action. 

You can find full details of travel between France and the UK HERE, or head to Local sites in Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Austria and Denmark for the latest on travel.

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