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Austrian rail strike stalls trains, disrupts 100,000 passengers

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VIENNA (Reuters) – Trains stopped running across Austria on Monday as last-minute pay negotiations failed to avert a planned two-hour strike, disrupting travel for 100,000 travellers in Europe.

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 called the “warning strike” to press its demands in the annual pay talks.

Austrian national rail company OBB said shortly before the strike began that since the union had not told it which lines would be affected, all services would be shut down, including trains arriving from other countries.

“The union has still not announced the affected connections and lines. Therefore, for operational security reasons, OBB temporarily shut down rail traffic across Austria at 12 o’clock,” it added.

The Vida trade union later said talks had broken down after it had received “no serious offer” on pay. Its statement did not say what further industrial action it might take.

By 1300 GMT, OBB said long-distance services were resuming and local ones would follow shortly afterwards, but disruptions were likely to continue until the late afternoon.

(Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Alexander Smith)

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