Low-key week of action over harmonisation

In September 1999, Austria's ÖGB trade union confederation organised a week of action over the harmonisation of the legal position of wage earners and salary earners, which it has made its top priority. The actions received little attention.

From 10 to 17 September 1999, the Austrian Trade Union Federation (Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund, ÖGB) organised a week of action to underline its demand for a harmonisation of the legal position of wage earners and salary earners (AT9906153N). Legal distinctions between the two categories persist in areas such as compensation during sick leave and regulations governing dismissal. About 200 events were scheduled in the week of action. The opening event took place in a square in Vienna and included speeches and a pantomime. It was preceded by 6,000 faxes sent to the Austrian Chamber of the Economy (Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, WKÖ), asking it to give up its resistance to harmonisation. In other areas, information hand-outs and homing pigeons were used in the actions. The public spaces around provincial WKÖ headquarters were targeted for activities while others took place in companies, without disrupting production.

Overall, the action consisted mostly of spreading the message among ÖGB members and among employees. There was very little spectacle. The media response after the opening event was negligible and employers also did not react. The campaigns for the general election on 3 October 1999 remained unaffected. ÖGB stated that it would not budge from its position and would not trade in other achievements in order to gain this one.

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