The workers are asking for a salary increase of up to 24 percent, broadcaster ORF reported, citing company representatives.
If there is no agreement in the current collective bargaining (Kollektivvertrag) negotiations, they are prepared to strike from next Monday November 28th.
Trade unions demand increased salaries due to high inflation in Austria but are repeatedly being told that companies can’t afford to pay them, ORF said. They have applied for permission to hold a nationwide warning strike on Monday, November 28th.
The union mentioned a “lack of appreciation” and an “only cosmetically embellished offer” on the part of the employers.
“We met the employers several times and, among other things, adjusted our offer to €400 a month on wages,” said Gerhard Tauchner, vice-chairman of the railway section in labour union Vida.
“The employers have made an offer that would mean real wage losses of up to two percent because of the continuing rise in inflation.”
Thomas Scheiber, the chief negotiator at the Chamber of Commerce (WKÖ)’s railways trade association, said workers were offered increases of up to 12 percent. He said that an increase of up to 24 percent would incur expenses of more than € 400 million, which is “unaffordable”.
He said: “The union has completely left reality. To put strike scenarios back on the table after our offer is excessive and irresponsible”.
Both sides stressed that they are still willing to negotiate, according to Vienna.at.
The “Vida” association called on the employers to return to the negotiating table while the companies’ side hoped for a change of heart on the part of Vida.
The head of the largest employer in the industry, ÖBB board member Andreas Matthä, also called for the resumption of talks.