Expression used to identify bargaining policy relating to aspects of labour utilization including work organization, protection against rationalization and in-service training and further training, as distinct from the quantitative issues which form its traditional focus, i.e. remuneration and working hours. In Austria, such qualitative issues are of only minor significance. For example, there is only one sector (printing and publishing) in which the collective agreement provides protection against rationalization in the form of staffing rules; there is provision for white-collar workers in manufacturing industry to be entitled to (unpaid) time off to prepare for examinations in the context of occupationally relevant further training in external training establishments; and there are special rules on telework in the oil industry. There are several reasons for the lack of emphasis on such qualitative issues. Many of them fall within the regulatory scope of establishment-level co-determination and hence the consultation rights of works councils, which are almost wholly integrated with the unions. Training issues fall, in particular, within the competence of the vocational training system. And the predominance of small and medium-sized firms in the structure of Austria's economy makes it difficult to agree on industry-wide rules regarding the adjustment of working conditions to human needs. An additional factor is the generally positive attitude towards technical progress and rationalization. Consequently, the unions' bargaining policy is focused on enabling employees to share in the benefits of technical progress in the form of increased pay and shorter working hours, and does not primarily concern itself with actively helping to shape that progress through qualitative rules.

Please note: the European industrial relations glossaries were compiled between 1991 and 2003 and are not updated. For current material see the European industrial relations dictionary.