Austrian Airlines workers threaten strike

Travellers may face delays and flight cancellations as pay negotiations between unions and bosses at Austrian Airlines appear deadlocked.

Austrian Airlines workers threaten strike
Austrian Airlines workers could go on strike over salaries. (Image by Robert Laible from Pixabay)

Three rounds of collective bargaining have been held so far for the on-board staff (about 2,500 employees) of Austrian Airlines, but without results, Kurier reported.

Austrian Airlines (AUA) reportedly offered an inflation compensation of about 6.99 percent and only for the year 2023, but with inflation reaching double-digits in Austria and no end of it in sight, the workers are increasing pressure on the Austrian Lufthansa subsidiary.

READ ALSO: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

“Salaries have to be raised by the inflation of the past twelve months, and that in the long term. So if the salaries are not raised, the employees will be faced with a real salary loss of 20 percent,” said trade unionist Daniel Liebhart to Kurier.

“The staff will be hit twice, so to speak”, he added.

The next workers’ meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 20th. The trade union has already had a strike clearance approved by Austria’s Trade Union Federation (ÖGB).

READ ALSO: Reader question: Can I get a refund after cancelling my Austria trip due to Covid?

On the date, delays and flight cancellations cannot be ruled out, the trade union representative said.

He said: “The staff meetings can last two or three hours or longer because the need for information is great. We have also had a strike resolution approved by the ÖGB. This will also have to be discussed with the colleagues.”

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Train strike: What are your rights in Austria if your trip is cancelled or delayed?

Rail workers at Austria's ÖBB went on strike Monday after salary negotiations ended with no deal. Here's what you need to know about your rights if you're affected.

Train strike: What are your rights in Austria if your trip is cancelled or delayed?

The Austria-wide strikes affect ÖBB trains but also regional transport (including the S-Bahn system that goes through Vienna) and some transport operated by Westbahn.

There may also be individual train cancellations on Tuesday, November 29th, as The Local reported. Information on this can be found in the ÖBB SCOTTY.

The warning strike was called after trade unions and companies were not able to agree on salary increases amid rising inflation in Austria. 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: Strikes in Austria: How will transport and services be affected

What happens to tickets I’ve already bought?

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 through the customer service hotline on 05-1717 9.

In the case of Westbahn tickets, the company is asking customers to cancel them – this can also be done retroactively. 

What if I am stranded due to the strike?

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. 

The maximum amount for local and regional transport is €80 per person for an overnight stay in a hotel and €50 per person for a taxi ride, according to the Agency for Passenger Rights (APF).

The agency also recommends people ask the railway company for confirmation of the delay or cancelled ticket.

There would be no compensation claims if you were informed about the delay or cancellation before you bought your ticket. There is also no entitlement to compensation for delays in “specific individual cases” to people who hold an annual travel pass.

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

In the event of disputes, the AFP can provide assistance. The organisation currency recommends postponing non-essential travel to a later date and adjusting your ticket validity. 

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.