New salary rates agreed in commerce
27 november 1998
On 16 November 1998, the Union of Salaried Employees (Gewerkschaft der Privatangestellten, GPA) and the Austrian Chamber of the Economy (Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, WKÖ) agreed to raise minimum salaries in commerce by 2.2%, effective from 1 January 1999. There are approximately 350,000 salaried employees in commerce, more than 10% of all Austrian employment. As in previous years, the 2.2% rise applies only to pay table (a) and to seven of the nine provinces (AT9712150F ). Table (a) is one of eight "tables" or scales of job grades and associated pay levels, agreed by the social partners in commerce, that are renegotiated every autumn. Table (a) is the lowest, and, because it applies to the greatest number of workers in the sector, acts as a benchmark for the rest.  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/undefined-working-conditions/new-collective-agreements-signed-in-commerce
New items appear on bargaining agenda
27 oktober 1998
In addition to agreeing substantial increases in wages and salaries (AT9810108N ), the pay round in the Austrian manufacturing sector which concluded on 19 October 1998 had other noteworthy results. The agenda specifically included many new items not traditionally part of sectoral pay bargaining. The agreements were concluded between the Metals, Mining and Energy Trade Union (Gewerkschaft Metall-Bergbau-Energie, GMBE), the industry section of the Union of Salaried Employees (Gewerkschaft der Privatangestellten, GPA), and the industry section of the Austrian Chamber of the Economy (Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, WKÖ). They will take effect from 1 November 1998 to run for 12 months, and, as always, cover only industrial employers.  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/pay-round-in-manufacturing-sectors-completed
Pay round in manufacturing sectors completed
27 oktober 1998
On 19 October 1998, negotiations concluded setting pay increases for 153,000 blue-collar workers in the industrial metalworking sector and 142,000 white-collar workers in industrial metalworking and five other sectors, totalling roughly 10% of Austria's entire workforce. Minimum blue-collar wages were raised by 3.7% to between ATS 89.20 and ATS 150.00 gross per hour, depending on skill level. Actual wages are being raised by 2.9%. In addition there is a lump-sum payment of ATS 2,500 due on 1 February 1999, equal to an increase of another 0.7%. As in 1997, companies will have the choice of concluding a works agreement on a "distribution option" (Verteiloption). This limits the wage increase to 2.7% but the company has to distribute a further 0.5% of the total wages bill to designated groups - preferably young, female or key personnel. Minimum and actual salaries for white-collar workers in metalworking were raised by the same percentage as wages.
Tax reform plans: between employment, incomes and convergence
27 september 1998
Since the last tax reform in Austria, which took effect from 1994, wage and salary rises have propelled many blue- and white-collar workers (or wage and salary earners respectively) into higher tax brackets. This movement is known in Austria as "cold progression", resulting in a rise from 15.5% to 17.5% of the share of income tax in gross pay. However, the precise amount is unknown and estimates are disputed. There is consensus, though, that these effects should be offset, as they were previously in 1993 and 1988. The reforms are to be agreed in 1999, an election year, to take effect from 1 January 2000. Income tax raised ATS 183 billion in 1998 against ATS 104 billion in 1988.
Teachers' dispute continues
27 september 1998
As the school year started in early September 1998, teachers employed by the Austrian federal government - organised in two sections within the Public Service Trade Union (Gewerkschaft Öffentlicher Dienst, GÖD) - resumed their protests. These had erupted the previous April over the government's decision, that had been basically agreed with the trade union, to pay only for those hours actually worked in the class room, instead of the customary lump-sum overtime allowance (AT9805183F ).  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/undefined-working-conditions/protests-spread-across-austrian-public-services
Agreements in tourism almost achieve national coverage
27 september 1998
Having failed for the second year in a row to secure a national sectoral agreement for blue-collar workers in restaurants and hotels, the social partners in Austria's tourism industry again settled for province-by-province negotiations in 1998. In 1997, this strategy led to the conclusion of only four agreements. In 1998, there were early successes in three of the nine provinces, two of which had also concluded agreements in 1997 (AT9805186N ). In July and August, agreements were concluded in another four provinces. The first was Salzburg (23 July: 14,300 workers) after noteworthy industrial activity, followed by Tyrol (28 July: 22,400), Styria (29 July: 13,700), and Carinthia (3 August: 9,500). All were backdated to 1 July 1998 and expire on 30 April 1999.  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/progress-in-1998-tourism-industry-pay-round
New training measures to absorb 1998 and 1999 school leavers
27 juli 1998
After a compromise between the national social partners at the end of March 1998 on measures for school leavers (AT9803175N ), the Austrian government and parliament set to work to thrash out the final legal framework by 10 June 1998. It provides for a series of temporary measures to facilitate the absorption of 1998 and 1999 school leavers into employment. ATS 500 million per year has been reserved for subsidies to enterprises and other organisations providing training and a further ATS 400 million per year for school-based courses. The number of unemployed school leavers on 15 November of each year triggers the release of funds. A maximum 4,000 first-time job seekers are expected to be without employment on 15 November 1998. Of these, 40% are to be absorbed by special providers of apprenticeships, and 60% by special training courses at vocational schools. Employment and training projects will have to be launched between 1 November 1998 and 31 December 1999. Three ministries will jointly decide on the applications but they will be handled and administrated by the Public Employment Service (Arbeitsmarktservice, AMS). Furthermore, measures prohibiting pupils with a large number of failures in the first year of certain types of school from repeating the year have been relaxed. In this way they will be kept in school, while in 1997 they were forced out on to the labour market. One estimate by the AMS puts the number at 3,500. The Ministry of Education (Bundesministerium für Unterricht und kulturelle Angelegenheiten, BMUK) says that many of them would have left school whether forced to or not.  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/youth-employment-measures-agreed
Negotiations continue over civil service reforms
27 juli 1998
The Austrian Government's declared objective is to have the cost of public administration grow more slowly than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Its recent successes include reducing public administration costs, excluding pensions, from 5% of GDP in 1994 to 4.5% in 1998. The strategy is to provide incentives for greater efficiency and to examine critically the kind of task being performed. Greater service orientation is also to be achieved. Likewise, the Government has put a brake on granting job tenure. The Public Service Trade Union (Gewerkschaft Öffentlicher Dienst, GÖD) claims there are now 2,500 Federal employees fulfilling the requirements for tenure who are being kept waiting.
All to play for with sectoral agreement in football
27 juni 1998
Some 780 professional football players are members of the Football Section (Fachgruppe Fußball, FG Fußball) of the Arts, Media and Free Professions Trade Union (Gewerkschaft Kunst, Medien, freie Berufe, KMfB). This is about 95% of all professional players in the country, according to FG Fußball. On 10 June 1998, the day the World Cup started, the first substantive discussions opened between FG Fußball and the Federal Football League (Bundesliga), the association of football clubs, over a collective agreement. There are only about 30 players who are paid enough by their clubs and by sponsors to be counted among top earners. The majority of the 350 full-time professionals, according to the trade union, earn about as a much as a bank employee of the same age.
Prominent trade union leader questions wage restraint
27 juni 1998
In a press release dated 9 June 1998, Fritz Verzetnitsch, the president of the Austrian Trade Union Federation (Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund, ÖGB), and also the president of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), said that he had lost faith in wage restraint as a means of promoting employment in Europe. He said that European trade unions had exercised considerable pay restraint over the last 10 years in an effort to aid employment creation. "In the face of 18 million unemployed in the European Union I have lost faith in the experiment," he was quoted as saying. He added that over the same period, productivity growth had exceeded wage increases by about one percentage point.