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Hungary: Ministry reaches agreement with most rail unions - one still wants to strike

December 2007.

     The Transport Ministry and three out of four railway unions reached agreement on Tuesday, signing a document that will keep 38 spur lines running for at least another six months, although the fourth union has not revoked its strike threat for next week.
    A government proposal to close down the lines or transfer them to an operator other than state company MAV triggered a series of strikes including one planned for December 17. Under the agreement, signed on Tuesday, 26 of the lines will keep running for at least another year, and 12 until the end of May. During that time, the ministry will negotiate with possible operators that might be able to take over the low-trafficked lines and cut losses.

    One union, the Railway Workers Union (VSZ) has called off the strike. Two others, the Railroad Engineers' Union (MOSZ) and the Track Workers' Union (PVDSZ), have said only that they would not strike to push for a change in the contents of the agreement.

    The fourth union, the Railway Workers' Free Trade Union (VDSZSZ) refused to sign the agreement and is going forward with the strike called by umbrella organization Liga, which is set to involve people in a number of professions, including bus drivers and teachers.

    MAV, which will have to keep running the trains, did not dispute the accord.

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