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Railway strike continues, may not be suspended for Christmas holiday

The VDSzSz railway union strike continued on Saturday, severely disrupting railway traffic throughout Hungary for a sixth consecutive day. VDSzSz officials say that the union may not suspend the strike for the Christmas holidays as previously planned.

Officials from Hungarian state-owned railway company MÁV say that railway passengers should expect significant delays and curtailed service again on Saturday due to the strike, noting that rail service had come to a complete standstill at the Eastern and Southern railway stations in Budapest, while only a few trains were departing from the city's Western station on Saturday morning.

MÁV reported on Saturday morning that that 262 of 1,149 employees of the company's passenger unit MÁV START had taken part in the strike overnight, while no engine drivers had participated in the work stoppage.

Representatives from MÁV and VDSzSz are scheduled to resume negotiations at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday after failing to reach an agreement during talks on Friday.

VDSzSz Chairman István Gaskó said following the failure of negotiations on Friday that the union may reverse its previous decision to suspend its indefinite strike for the Christmas holiday on December 24, 25 and 26.

The VDSzSz began its strike on Sunday evening to bolster its demand that MÁV employees receive HUF 250,000 each, or a combined HUF 8 billion, from the HUF 102.5 billion in revenue generated from the sale of MÁV Cargo, MÁV's spun-off freight unit, and a retroactive 10% in outsourcing compensation.

MÁV earlier this week that the company is losing HUF 150 million (€567,134) in revenue per day as a result of the strike.

The strike has had little effect on MÁV Cargo's schedule. (MTI – Econews)