Austrian rail traffic froze Monday, impacting critical transit routes between Europe’s east and west, as workers held a 24-hour strike over pay disputes.
According to Reuters, the labor action has disrupted 8,000 connections and left more than a million passengers stranded.
“The railway union vida is on strike today from 00:00 to 24:00. For this reason, no trains can run all day throughout Austria and across borders,” the country’s federal railway system, OeBB, wrote on its website.
The labor action was last-minute after pay negotiations broke down between the rail workers’ union and OeBB. The union demanded a 400 Euro increase due to the cost-of-living-crisis in the EU for the 50,000 rail workers. They were offered 208 euros plus a one-time payment of 1000 euros.
“Wedged between eight countries including Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, Austria is an important hub for European rail travel,” Reuters noted.
“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 local radio broadcaster ORF.
The strike is malicious as it disrupts critical EU rail networks. Though not surprising due to the EU’s worst inflation crisis in a generation thanks to backfiring sanctions against Russia.