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Rail travel hit by austerity strike in Portugal

A 24-hour strike against planned reductions in transport workers’ pay severely curtailed the number of trains running in Portugal on Wednesday.

Just 30 percent of trains on the national network were operational, a spokeswoman for the national railway network Comboios de Portugal (CP) said, after the action began just after midnight.

Trade union boss Abilio Carvalho said the strike was “a clear response from workers” to pay cuts in the 2014 government budget he claimed could slice more than 30 to 40 percent off their salaries.

The CP spokeswoman said the network would also be “lightly” affected by a strike on Thursday.

Labour unions have called for a strike by public sector workers on November 8, among various other demonstrations and stoppages including a police protest on November 21.

The striking workers are protesting salary cuts in the public sector due next year as well as the privatisation of public sector projects.