EUROPE - France, Germany and Hungary are feeling the effects of industrial action as railway workers across the continent continue to stage strikes in protest over pension reforms in separate, albeit strongly related, incidents.
The French actions, now continuing into a second week, are spurred by proposed reforms to the special regime (‘régimes spéciaux’) pension arrangements for railway and energy sector workers, among others.
Negotiations between employers, unions and the government are scheduled for tomorrow if unions call off the strike or demonstrate a preparedness to return to work in the near future.
In Hungary, train drivers have called a six hour strike to be held tomorrow over secondary line closures, although health, utility, public transport and school worker union leaders have pledged support in protest of what they see as the partial privatisation of pension and healthcare systems.
Workers at Germany’s Deutsche Bahn train operator held a three day strike last week over pay and conditions in a dispute which has been continuing since the start of the year.
Deutsche Bahn officials said they hoped that the problems would be resolved by Christmas and were preparing a pay offer to open negotiations.
The economic impact of the disputes has not been disclosed, although it is thought that in France, the daily cost of the strike, which has affected commuters and freight movements, is over €300m (US$440m).
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