Hungarian rail workers strike over pay

Business Materials 1 February 2008 12:50 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Hungary's railway stations stood largely empty during the rush hour Friday as rail employees began an indefinite strike.

Employees from the Railway Workers Free Trade Union and some from other unions walked out at 3am (0200 GMT) for an indefinite period.

Union head Istvan Gasko on Thursday said that he expected around 70 per cent of rail workers to strike, while Hungarian Railways (MAV) said it expected most people to turn up.

While no exact figures were available on how many walked out, few trains appeared to be running.

Wage talks broke down on Thursday, leading to the walk out.

The union is demanding a 10-per-cent wage rise and also a payment for workers from money earned from the privatization of Hungarian Railway's cargo division, MAV Cargo.

Rail workers have recently walked out after disputes over the closure of secondary railway lines and also government plans to introduce private capital into the health insurance system.

The last "indefinite" strike lasted less than one day.