In Austria collective agreements concluded, in particular, by manual workers in the metal industry (GMBE) and white-collar workers in most of manufacturing industry (GPA) not only specify minimum pay rates for the sector but also contain clauses on actual pay rates. These clauses do not specify the rates themselves, but sectorally agreed percentage increases to be applied to the rates actually paid, which may vary from company to company. This means that the union is also able, in the context of pay bargaining above company level, to regulate the wages and salaries of those employees who are not directly affected by minimum rates laid down in the agreement. As a rule, higher increases are fixed for the minimum pay scale than for actual pay: in the 1997 agreement for the metal industry, for example, the increases were respectively 2.7% and 2.1%.
Actual-pay clauses were first introduced in the GMBE collective agreement at the end of 1959. At that time, the unions were pursuing an “anticyclical” pay policy, intended to restrain pay from being driven upwards during periods of economic upturn and to stabilize purchasing power during periods of economic downturn. In 1959, when in the prevailing favourable economic conditions upward pay drift reached a degree which the unions found unacceptable in terms of their objectives on stability, the agreement established not only agreed minimum-scale increases but also actual-pay increases (9% and 4% respectively). The term Effektivklausel is used synonymously.