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Strikes For Members

How Europe’s strikes will affect people in Austria this summer

Aaron Burnett
Aaron Burnett - [email protected]
How Europe’s strikes will affect people in Austria this summer
There may be delays on some Austrian train lines this summer due to possible German rail strikes. Photo by Frederic Köberl on Unsplash

Austria itself isn’t experiencing the labour disputes many other countries are due to rising cost of living, but travellers in the alpine republic could still see some knock-on effects from other places.

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With Austrian Airlines having reached an agreement with its workers back in April and no major public transport or train strikes on the horizon – at least within Austria itself – people living here may have escaped the worst of any potential travel chaos in Europe this summer.

But as a landlocked country in the middle of Europe, there’s bound to be some knock-on effects for both air and train travellers.

Travel by train: watch out for German and Italian strikes

Northward, in Germany, the EVG union representing train workers in their action against German state railway company Deutsche Bahn, have yet to reach a deal.

No further strike dates have been set, but the two sides are due to sit down for five days of talks from Monday, and if they can't find a resolution there's speculation that strikes could take place later in the month or in July. For people in Austria, any industrial action is likely to lead to some train cancellations, especially for those who use the well-travelled Salzburg to Munich route.

Any strikes in Germany are also likely to mean big disruptions for people travelling between Salzburg and Kufstein in western Austria – a route that is also necessary for many direct trains, such as the Westbahn, that travel between Vienna and Linz onward to Innsbruck.

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That’s because trains between Salzburg and Kufstein have to go through the “Deutsches Eck” area – a small enclave of Germany that separates the two Austrian border towns.

Strikes in Germany are typically announced a few days beforehand, and previous German strikes have made travel through Deutsches Eck impossible, leading Austrian state railway ÖBB to set up replacement shuttle services between Salzburg and Kufstein.

ÖBB has previously warned that while using the shuttles to go around Deutsches Eck means travel between Salzburg and Kufstein is still possible during German rail strikes, it can lengthen the trip by several hours and involve changes in either Salzburg, Kufstein, or both.

An Austrian ÖBB train speeds through the country. (© ÖBB / Harald Eisenberger)

Italy is also set to have several public transport and train strikes this summer, including in its northern regions near Austria.

Milan public transport plans to strike on June 16th, with nationwide public transport following suit on July 7th.

On June 23rd, staff at Trenford, which operates regional trains in Lombardy, where Milan is, are set to strike from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

READ ALSO: What are your rights if your trip is delayed or cancelled in Austria?

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Travel by air: watch out for British, French, and Italian strikes

Although Austrian Airlines and its workers have reached a deal, air travellers should watch out for air traffic control strikes that could ground their travel plans.

On July 15th, staff with Italy’s main air traffic control operator ENAV will stage a 24-hour walkout, meaning anyone flying south from Austria could see their flights disrupted or cancelled – even if they’re bound for a destination that isn’t in Italy itself, like Malta or Tunisia.

Although there aren't any strikes affecting Austria itself, air traffic control and security staff strikes in the UK, France, and Italy may have knock-on effects. (Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)

Air traffic controllers in France have also gone on strike several times in the last few months, grounding flights going into or out of France – and even some just flying over France. Air traffic controllers haven’t announced any new strike days since their last day of action on June 6th. But if they announce any others, it could well affect westward travel from Austria.

Travellers from Austria heading to or from the UK should also be aware that security staff will be striking at Heathrow Airport on most weekends from mid-June to late August, potentially affecting flights to Vienna into and out of Heathrow’s Terminal 3. Staff at Edinburgh Airport, which has some direct services to Vienna, have also voted to strike over the summer buy haven’t set any dates.

READ ALSO: LATEST: The transport strikes that will hit passengers in Europe this summer

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