10 januar 2006
On 7 December 2005, the Supreme Court of Justice (Oberster Gerichtshof, OGH) formally terminated a pending conflict over the service regulations of Austria’s largest bank institute, the Bank Austria-Creditanstalt (BA-CA), by pronouncing its decision in favour of the employer’s side.
09 januar 2006
At the beginning of December 2005, state secretary Alfred Finz of the conservative People’s Party (Österreichische Volkspartei, ÖVP) announced the government’s willingness to abolish the traditional public employment relationship of career public servants (Beamte). According to Mr Finz, the government plans to present a draft bill for a Federal Public Employees Act (Bundesmitarbeitergesetz) early in 2006. This draft will provide for only a single, uniform type of employment relationship between public employees and their employer. Thus, the current two-tier system in the civil service, which is based on a differentiation between career public servants and 'contract public employees' (Vertragsbedienstete) would be abolished (see below).
07 december 2005
On 24 November 2005, the general assembly of the Chamber of the Economy (Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, WKÖ) adopted an agreement on further reform steps in respect of the Chamber which had been reached by the body’s leadership a few days before. Interestingly, all competing factions (which are represented within the WKÖ bodies) affiliated to one of the political parties in parliament - except for the faction affiliated to the Green Party (Die Grünen, GRÜNE) - voted in favour of the draft reform programme.
28 november 2005
At the beginning of November 2005, the conservative-populist coalition government and the management of the state-owned Austrian Federal Railways (Österreichische Bundesbahnen, ÖBB) launched a debate over possible changes to the railworkers’ current statutory 'service regulations'. At present, more than 80% of ÖBB employees are career public servants (Beamte) enjoying permanent tenure that carries absolute protection against dismissal. The Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Infrastructure (including transport affairs), Hubert Gorbach, announced the government’s willingness to introduce a Federal Railways Service Regulations Act (ÖBB-Dienstrechtsgesetz) in order to relax the railworkers’ current protection against dismissal. Furthermore, the government aims to restrict by law the current special ÖBB early retirement scheme, which is laid down in the Federal Railways Pensions Act (Bundesbahnpensionsgesetz, BB-PG). This enables the company to pension off employees early for solely business reasons, without any requirement for a medical certificate (AT0308202F ). According to the minister, the relevant draft legislation should be pushed through parliament within the next months. The background is the perceived poor financial performance of the ÖBB.  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/controversy-over-planned-reduction-in-railway-workforce
06 november 2005
A study carried out by the Chamber of Labour (Arbeiterkammer, AK ) in September 2005 underlines the continuing predominance of men within the governing bodies of Austria’s enterprises. Accordingly, 45 out of 79 companies listed on the Viennese stock exchange have management and supervisory boards composed exclusively of men. Only 25 out of 540 mandates for the supervisory boards are held by women (ie 4.6%), and only 7 out of 230 management board members are females (ie 3%). Women’s top-level representation in Austria’s businesses thus records an even worse situation compared with the anyhow extremely low numbers at European Union (EU) level (recording a women’s share of 7.3% in supervisory boards).  http://wien.arbeiterkammer.at/
25 oktober 2005
In February 2005, the first-ever collective agreement for private training institutions was concluded after several years of negotiations (AT0504202N ). We take this as an opportunity to look at the system of industrial relations in this sector in general.  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/first-collective-agreement-signed-for-private-training-institutions
09 oktober 2005
On 23 September 2005, only one week after the first meeting of the bargaining parties involved, the new collective agreement for some 180,000 employees in the metalworking industry was concluded. Accordingly, both minimum and actual wages and salaries (including the apprentices’ remuneration) will increase by 3.1%, beginning on 1 November 2005. This agreement provides for the highest pay increase of recent years (see table below). Both parties, ie branch subunit representatives of the Chamber of the Economy (Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, WKÖ) on the employers’ side and representatives of the blue-collar Metalworking and Textiles Union (Gewerkschaft Metall-Textil, GMT) and white-collar Union of Salaried Employees (Gewerkschaft der Privatangestellten, GPA) on the employees’ side, have emphasised that the bargaining process proved extraordinarily difficult. However, this contrasts with the fact that the sectoral social partners reached an agreement within a few days only. Considering the high inflation rate of 2.5% in 2005 as well as outstandingly high productivity rates of the metalworking industry in 2004 (WKÖ 2005: Leistungsbericht 2004), it soon became clear that the trade unions would not be willing to accept pay increases lower than 3%. Therefore the agreement did not come as a great surprise.
12 juli 2005
A series of elections to the regional (Länder) parliaments (Landtage) were held during 2004. On 7 March, the Social Democratic Party (Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs, SPÖ) won - for the first time in this province - the regional elections in Salzburg, receiving 45.4% of the vote (up 13.1 percentage points from the previous election in 1999). The conservative People’s Party (Österreichische Volkspartei, ÖVP), which had been the province’s largest party and thus in power during the whole post-war period until then, lost 0.8 percentage points and for the first time fell to the second position (with 37.9%). As a consequence, Gabi Burgstaller, the head of Salzburg’s SPÖ, became the first ever social democrat and woman to be inaugurated as the province’s governor (Landeshauptfrau). Whereas the populist Freedom Party (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, FPÖ) lost more than the half of its 1999 vote, receiving 8.7% of the vote, the Green Party (Die Grünen, GRÜNE) increased its share of the vote from 5.4% to 8.0%.
14 februar 2005
In the course of the 2004 autumn bargaining round, on 3 December 2004 the sectoral social partners (AT0012235N ) concluded a new framework collective agreement for the information technology (IT) industry, which is the first such agreement in Austria to include provisions on a so-called further training certificate (Bildungszertifizierung) scheme. The certificate is designed to guarantee certain further training standards for most IT employees in Austria on a comparable basis. Accordingly, paragraph 23 of the new collective agreement recommends that all IT companies with a certain number of employees comply with the requirements of this certificate. 'The further training certificate is valid for the whole country’s territory. Its purpose is to record and promote both the businesses’ and the employees’ readiness to play an active role in the process of lifelong learning,' stated Karl Proyer, chief negotiator for the white-collar Union of Salaried Employees (Gewerkschaft der Privatangestellten, GPA), at a press conference in mid-January 2005. In the long run, this measure is devised both to improve the labour market chances of IT workers and to enhance the competitiveness of Austrian IT firms, due to generally better qualified employees.  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/first-collective-agreement-for-information-technology-sector
03 februar 2005
Against a background of increasing unemployment levels among foreign nationals in Austria, the current government of the conservative People’s Party (Österreichische Volkspartei, ÖVP) and the populist Freedom Party (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, FPÖ) intends further to restrict labour immigration by workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). According to the government’s recently announced plans, the country’s overall intake of immigrant workers from outside the EEA will be near zero in 2005. Over recent years, the government’s policy line was that labour immigration should be restricted mainly with regard to less-skilled labour, whereas it aimed to attract skilled labour from outside the EEA to work in Austria within a certain quota-based framework (AT0109128N ). Now, in 2005, the government aims also to reduce the quota for so-called 'key workers' (defined as 'third-country nationals' earning at least EUR 2,100 before taxes per month).  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/government-intends-to-restrict-labour-immigration