Railway strike averted as trade unions and management agree on wage raise

Seven trade unions at the state-run Slovak Rail (ŽSR) agreed On March 26 to accept a 10% raise in the average wage at the firm, as proposed by ŽSR Director Andrej Egyed. After accepting the raise, the trade unions canceled a strike alert called earlier in the month.

Only trade union refused to sign the deal - the Federation of Engine Drivers, which had been demanding a 12% increase.

The collective bargaining process, which started in mid-December last year, had broken down over the wage increase. Originally, the trade unions had requested a 35% hike while ŽSR management stuck firm at 5%. Later, the unions moderated their request to 15% increase while management inched closer to compromise with 8%.

Because the Federation of Engine Drivers refused the deal, the trade unions have 15 days by law in which to adopt a common stance. If they do not achieve an agreement by this time, the position of the largest trade union will decide whether the management deal is officially accepted or not.

The unions and ŽSR management aim to sign a collective agreement for 1999 as soon as possible. The ŽSR is the biggest Slovak employer with more than 40,000 employees.

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