Women demand higher pay

The 13th women's congress of the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB), which took place in June 1999, expressed a range of demands on equal opportunities and related matters. It pledged to keep these issues alive in ÖGB policy-making forums.

The 13th women's congress of the Austrian Trade Union Federation (Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund, ÖGB) was held on 8-10 June 1999. A whole series of demands were raised and formally passed by the delegates, with equal opportunities for women at the centre of concerns. The demands include the following.

  • Minimum wages and salaries for full-time employment should be raised to ATS 15,000 gross per month (payable 14 times per year). The lowest wages are currently about ATS 12,000, whilst the formal demand of ÖGB member trade unions is EUR 1,000 by 2002 (AT9905144F).
  • Compulsory equal opportunities programmes should be stipulated for all establishments, and companies failing to comply with them should not be eligible for public tenders or subsidies.
  • All forms of hidden discrimination should be removed. Women performing the same work as men are often located on a lower pay grade when they are recruited, which has repercussions throughout their working life.
  • Better career opportunities should be created in occupations usually filled by women.
  • It must become easier to combine full-time work with family life. Childcare facilities should therefore be improved and men should be encouraged to care for their offspring and for children in general. Part-time work is no alternative since it involves lower pay, reduced benefits, often lower pensions and fewer career opportunities.
  • Return from parental leave must receive more support from individual employers rather than exclusively from the federal budget.
  • The right of women to be represented at all organisational levels and across all levels of responsibility must be asserted.

The congress upheld the demand for a 35-hour working week and a subsequent reduction to 30 hours, all at an unchanged weekly wage. It noted critically that this particular demand had received little attention recently - upon which remark, the leadership of ÖGB immediately reasserted its commitment. Furthermore, people in every form of employment should have to contribute to the social security system (AT9711144F) and eligibility for severance pay should extend to voluntary resignations by employees (AT9811109F).

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