German and Austrian food sector unions sign cooperation deal

In August 2000, German and Austrian trade unions in the food, hotel and restaurants sector signed a cooperation agreement, which includes mutual recognition of union membership.

On 15 August 2000, the German Food and Restaurant Workers' Union (Gewerkschaft Nahrung Genuss Gaststätten, NGG), the Austria n Union of Agricultural, Food, Beverage and Tobacco Workers (Gewerkschaf t Agrar- Nahrung – Genuss, ANG) and Hotel, Restaurant and Personal Services Workers' Union (Gewerkschaft Hotel, Gastgewerbe, Persönlicher Dienst, HGPD) signed a new agreement on closer cooperation and mutual recognition of union membership. As a result of the agreement, employees from Austria who work in Germany will have access to the full services of the German trade union and vice versa.

The president of NGG, Franz-Josef Möllenberg, stated that "since European integration is creating more and more cross-border labour markets, the unions must support one another's members when they are working in another country." Mr. Möllenberg said that close union cooperation "is an important precondition for introducing minimum social standards in Europe and preventing social dumping". Finally, NGG sees the agreement as a signal that German unions are giving strong support to their Austrian partner unions in their opposition to the right-wing populism of Jörg Haider, whose Freedom Party (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, FPÖ) is now a partner in the coalition government (AT0002212F).

A number of other German unions have signed cooperation agreements with counterpart unions in other European countries - see, for example, DE9804259N and DE9703206N.

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