The strike is due to start at 5:30am (0330 GMT) on Wednesday, the Austrian news agency APA reported, quoting union representatives.

  

AUA staff on Saturday staged a 15-hour strike to protest against cost-cutting plans after months of negotiations with the management broke down last week.

  

It resulted in eight flights being cancelled and a loss of up to $2.3 million for the cash-strapped national carrier, according to AUA spokesmen in Vienna.

  

Members of the AUA board have spent months trying to adopt a plan to reduce company costs by 35% by 2008, and 10% by 2004, saying the scheme is critical to the airline's survival.

  

In early May, AUA announced a first quarter loss of $62.8 million before taxes.

 

Recovery

  

However, it recently bounced back from financial troubles.

 

After a net loss of $195 million in 2001, the company installed a severe financial plan and emerged, in 2002, with $50.4 million net profits.

  

The flight staff, who also staged a three-hour strike in August, have said they are still hoping to reach a compromise with the management.

  

Strikes had been relatively rare in Austria, where the government, unions and management were traditionally able to reach consensus.

  

But since the rise of the conservative-extreme right coalition in February 2000, several strikes have taken place.