Another year without strikes

Austrian statistics for 1998, published in summer 1999, record another year without strikes. However, a common form of disguised strike action - calling a staff meeting - goes unrecorded.

The 1998 strike statistics, published in summer 1999 by the Austrian Trade Union Federation (Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund, ÖGB), shows the year to have been free of strikes, including unauthorised strikes. After 1994 and 1996, this was the third year in the 1990s without strike activity, while in 1995 the figure was near nil (AT9707124N). In 1997, there were 153,000 hours, or 1,913 days, of strike action in the public service when internal revenue and customs staff struck twice in June, involving about 25,800 participants (AT9706117F)- there were thus about 0.3 minutes of strike action per Austrian employee.

In 1999, so far, there have been no strikes. A strike of football players in the second tier of the federal football league during the new season's opening round of matches on 3 and 4 July was averted: The league postponed the start of the season by a week. Had the strike taken place, due to the players' type of contract it is unclear whether it would officially have been recorded as a strike. The duration of the strike would also have been difficult to determine. At issue was a new regulation requiring a certain number of younger players to be on the field, over which the players and trainers felt that they had not been consulted adequately.

Staff meetings are a common way of staging a warning strike without striking officially, but the statistics do not keep track of such actions. On 15 June 1999, for instance, 115 police in Vienna held a staff meeting demanding seven additional staff, more room, communication training, and ongoing psychological supervision. They work in the aliens section, where three of their colleagues are currently under investigation over the death of a Nigerian whom they were flying back to Bulgaria.

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