Portuguese commuters feel brunt of train strike

LISBON, Portugal -- Lisbon commuters are finding it hard to get to work as Portuguese train engineers begin five days of stoppages to contest austerity measures imposed by the country's government.

National rail company Comboios de Portugal said the strike forced the cancellation of almost 70 percent of suburban services in the capital on Monday morning with intercity and international services also severely disrupted.

The engineers are refusing to work during the first two hours of each shift. The National Engineers' Union is demanding pay increases for its members, but the government says lossmaking state enterprises such as the rail company must cut back.

Portugal's high debts forced it to take a (EURO)78 billion ($100 billion) bailout last year.

On Friday, a public holiday, no trains are expected to run at all.