Representativeness of the European social partner organisations: Paper industry - Austria

  • Observatory: EurWORK
  • Topic:
  • Employee representation,
  • Social partners,
  • Published on: 27 March 2012



About
Country:
Austria
Author:
Bernadette Allinger
Institution:

Employment in Austria’s paper sector rose slightly in absolute numbers between 1998 and 2008, but its share of overall employment fell by 0.03 percentage points from 0.48% to 0.45%. The number of companies declined from 172 to 154 over the same period. Industrial relations in the sector correspond largely to Austria’s standard pattern of obligatory membership for employers in the country’s Federal Economic Chamber (WKO) and its relevant subunits.

Furthermore, employers are represented by the voluntary employers’ organisation Austropapier, which overlaps to 100% with the WKO ‘Paper Industry’ subunit. There are two trade unions: the GPA-djp, representing white-collar workers across the whole sector and blue-collar workers in the paper processing industry, and PRO-GE, representing blue-collar workers across the rest of the sector. The collective bargaining coverage lies at an estimated 100% and there are six collective agreements in the sector.

1. Sectoral properties

Economic background

Until 2008, the sector underwent positive economic development. In 2009, however, production and turnover fell dramatically, short-time work was implemented and some factories stopped production entirely for a period. Paper production at a big pulp mill in Hallein (M-real) was closed down, with a loss of almost 500 jobs.

In the first half of 2010 the sector recovered, and production and turnover increased again by about 11 percentage points compared to the first half of 2009, due to the increased demand from the main markets in western Europe. Revenues, however, were lower than in the same period the year before, by 1.7 percentage points. The currently high commodity prices of pulp, waste paper and wood are depressing revenues and pose a big challenge for the sector, which faces in tough competition from international companies, due to its export quota of over 85%.

Current topics of relevance to the industry are energy and environmental policy (especially the carbon dioxide emission trade) and the future provision with commodities (especially wood). Investment in the sector has been declining for some years and is limited to increasing the production efficiency and use of energy. The economic outlook for the sector is rather poor; the tremendous expansion of the Asian pulp and paper market is expected to pose a threat not only for the national paper sector, but the European one as a whole.

Development of employment

Table 1: Sectoral properties
  1998 2008
Number of companies in the sector

172

154

Source of company data

Eurostat, SBS

Statistik Austria, Structural Business Statistics

Aggregate employment

17,601

18,492

Male employment

0

0

Female employment

0

0

Share of sectoral employment in %

0.48%

0.45%

Source of employment figures

Eurostat LFS

Statistik Austria, Structural Business Statistics

Aggregate employees

17,601

18,450

Male employees

0

0

Female employees

0

0

Share of sectoral employees in %

0.56%

0.52%

2. The sector’s trade unions and employer associations

This section includes the following trade unions and employer associations:

(i) trade unions which are party to sector-related collective bargaining (In line with the conceptual remarks outlined in the background information included in the accompanying excel spreadsheet, we understand sector-related collective bargaining as any kind of collective bargaining within the sector, i.e. single-employer bargaining as well as multi-employer bargaining. For the definition of single- and multi-employer bargaining, see 4.2)

(ii) trade unions which are a member of the sector-related European Union Federation (i.e. EMCEF – European Mine, Chemical and Energy Workers Federation)

(iii) employer associations which are a party to sector-related collective bargaining

(iv) employer associations (business associations) which are a member of the sector-related European Employer/Business Federation (i.e. CEPI – Confederation of European Paper Industries)

2a Data on the trade unions

In this section, the GPA-djp and PRO-GE are taken into account as sector-related trade unions.

Table 2: Union fact sheet: Gewerkschaft der Privatangestellten – Druck, Journalismus, Papier (GPA-djp 1)
Affiliation to multinational organisations

ITUC-CSI-IGB (International Trade Union Confederation); UNI global union (Union Network International); WOW (World Organisation of Workers)

Affiliation to European-level organisations

ETUC (European Trade Union Confederation); EPSU (European Public Services Union); EMCEF (European Mine, Chemical and Energy Workers' Federation); EFFAT (European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions); EFJ (European Federation of Journalists); UNI-Europa

Affiliation to national-level organisations

ÖGB (Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund, Austrian Trade Union Federation)

Engagement in sector-related collective bargaining

yes

Type of membership

voluntary

Consultation in sector-related matters

yes

Union's domain with regard to sector

sectional overlap

Domain overlap with other unions in sector

no

 

2010

‘Active’ union members total (in employment)

180,000

Union members (incl. non-employed), total

n.a.

‘Active’ union members in the sector (in employment)

1,670

Union members in the sector, total (incl. non-employed)

n.a.

Female membership as % of total members

44%

Source of sectoral membership figures

Est. Social Partner

Union density – active members

16.0%

Sectoral density – active members

9.0%

Sectoral domain density – active members

70.0%

Union density – total members

n.a.

Sectoral density – total members

n.a.

Sectoral domain density – total members

n.a.

Description of union’s domain with regard to sector

The GPA-DJP trade union’s membership domain includes all private-sector white-collar workers, retirees, apprentices and the unemployed. It also organises and represents both blue- and white-collar workers in the printing and paper processing industries. Furthermore, it represents journalists and formally self-employed people (who do not employ other people) who are economically dependent on one (main) client and whose working situation largely resembles that of salaried employees.

Representation of other groups than employees in the sector

yes

Table 3: Union fact sheet: Produktionsgewerkschaft (PRO-GE)
Affiliation to multinational organisations

ITUC (International Trade Union Federation); IMF (International Metalworkers’ Federation); ICEM (International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions); ITGLWF (International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation); IUF (International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations); TUAC (Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD)

Affiliation to European-level organisations

ETUC (European Trade Union Confederation); EFFAT (European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions); ETUC-TCL (ETUC Textile, Clothing, Leather); EMF (European Metalworkers’ Federation); EMCEF (European Mine, Chemical and Energy Workers’ Federation)

Affiliation to national-level organisations

ÖGB (Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund, Austrian Trade Union Federation)

Engagement in sector-related collective bargaining

yes

Type of membership

voluntary

Consultation in sector-related matters

yes

Union's domain with regard to sector

sectional overlap

Domain overlap with other unions in sector

no

 

2009

‘Active’ union members total (in employment)

n.a.

Union members (incl. non-employed), total

251,891

 

2010

‘Active’ union members in the sector (in employment)

5,558

Union members in the sector, total (incl. non-employed)

n.a.

Female membership as % of total members

17%

Source of sectoral membership figures

Est. Social Partner

Union density – active members

No data available

Sectoral density – active members

30.0%

Sectoral domain density – active members

Very high: 91–100%

Union density – total members

n.a.

Sectoral density – total members

n.a.

Sectoral domain density – total members

n.a.

Description of union’s domain with regard to sector

PRO-GE’s membership domain encompasses blue-collar workers in the private sector, retirees, apprentices and unemployed people from the following industries: metalworking, mining, energy, textiles and leather, agriculture, food-processing, tobacco, chemicals, glass production, paper, vulcanisation, mineral oil and gas and temporary agency workers.

Representation of other groups than employees in the sector

yes

2b Data on the employer associations

This section covers the voluntary employer association Austropapier and the following subunits of the Federal Economic Chamber (WKO) for which membership is mandatory:

  • the FVPI (paper industry sectoral subunit)
  • the FVPVI (paper processing industry sectoral subunit)
  • the FVBKE (sectoral subunit for bookbinders, manufacturers of cardboard packaging products and cases).

The latter association has large overlaps with NACE 16 (which includes ‘Manufacture of wood and of products of wood and cork, except furniture; manufacture of articles of straw and plaiting materials’), and there is considerable uncertainty about what economic area its members belong to. In consultation with a representative of FVBKE, it was decided include the association in this study due to its relative importance in the paper sector. Furthermore, the FVD (sectoral subunit printing) and the voluntary employer organisation VDM (Association of Printers and Media Technology) have some overlaps with the economic area NACE 18. However, according to a representative of FVD, no detailed data about the sectoral affiliation are available; therefore, only rough estimates can be provided and caution must be exercised with regard to the reliability of the data. According to the representative of the organisation (which is, like VDM, neither a member of CEPI nor involved in sector-related collective bargaining), about 10 board printing companies which together employ between 300 and 500 workers fall under the NACE 17 sector. There is also uncertainty as to what collective agreement(s) (separate ones for blue- and white-collar workers) are used for the employees. For some of them, the correct collective agreements for the sector are applied (any of the ones provided in 4.3); for others, however, collective agreement(s) of the printing industry are (wrongly) applied. No specific numbers are available on how many workers have the wrong collective agreements applied to them.

Table 4: Employers’ organisation fact sheet: Vereinigung der österreichischen Papierindustrie (Austropapier)
Affiliation to European-level organisations

CEPI (Confederation of European Paper Industries)

Engagement in sector-related collective bargaining

no

Consultation in sector-related matters

yes

Type of membership

voluntary

Organisation's domain with regard to sector

sectionalism

Domain overlap with other organisations in sector

yes

Domain overlaps occur with the following organisations

WKO FVPI

 

2009

Number of member companies, total

22

Number of employees in member companies, total

8,309

Number of member companies in sector

22

Number of employees in member companies in sector

8,309

Source of membership figures

Est. Social Partner

Domain density – companies

100,0%

Sectoral density – companies

14.0%

Sectoral domain density – companies

100.0%

Domain density – employees

100.0%

Sectoral density – employees

45.0%

Sectoral domain density – employees

100.0%

Description of organisation’s domain with regard to sector

Austropapier is a voluntary employers’ organisation for all companies operating in the paper industry (self-employed and companies).

Representation of particular subgroups of enterprises

no

Table 5: Employers’ organisation fact sheet: Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, Fachverband der Papierindustrie (WKO FVPI)
Affiliation to European-level organisations

FVPI is not a member of CEPI, but is represented in working groups such as ‘social affairs’ and takes part in the social dialogue with EMCEF within the framework of CEPI.

Affiliation to national-level organisations

WKO

Engagement in sector-related collective bargaining

yes

Consultation in sector-related matters

yes

Type of membership

compulsory

Organisation's domain with regard to sector

sectionalism

Domain overlap with other organisations in sector

yes

Domain overlaps occur with the following organisations

Austropapier

 

2009

Number of member companies, total

22

Number of employees in member companies, total

8,309

Number of member companies in sector

22

Number of employees in member companies in sector

8,309

Source of membership figures

Est. Social Partner

Domain density – companies

100.0%

Sectoral density – companies

14.0%

Sectoral domain density – companies

100.0%

Domain density – employees

100.0%

Sectoral density – employees

45.0%

Sectoral domain density – employees

100.0%

Description of organisation's domain with regard to sector

Membership of the FV Papierindustrie (sectoral subunit paper industry of the Federal Economic Chamber) is mandatory for all companies operating in the paper industry (self-employed and companies).

Representation of particular subgroups of enterprises

Due to compulsory membership, enterprises of all sizes are represented.

Table 6: Employers’ organisation fact sheet: Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, Fachverband der Papierverarbeitenden Industrie (WKO FVPVI)
Affiliation to national-level organisations

WKO

Engagement in sector-related collective bargaining

yes

Consultation in sector-related matters

yes

Type of membership

compulsory

Organisation’s domain with regard to sector

sectionalism

Domain overlap with other organisations in sector

no

Domain overlaps occur with the following organisations

n.a.

 

2009

Number of member companies, total

85

Number of employees in member companies, total

9,090

Number of member companies in sector

85

Number of employees in member companies in sector

9.090

Source of membership figures

Administrative

Domain density – companies

100.0%

Sectoral density – companies

55.0%

Sectoral domain density – companies

100.0%

Domain density – employees

100.0%

Sectoral density – employees

49.0%

Sectoral domain density – employees

100.0%

Description of organisation's domain with regard to sector

Membership of the FV Papierverarbeitende Industrie (paper processing industry sectoral subunit of the Federal Economic Chamber) is mandatory for all companies operating in the paper processing industry (self-employed and companies).

Representation of particular subgroups of enterprises

Due to compulsory membership, enterprises of all sizes are represented.

Table 7: Employers’ organisation fact sheet: Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, Fachverband Buchbinder, Kartonagewaren- und Etuieerzeuger (WKO FVBKE)
Affiliation to national-level organisations

WKO

Engagement in sector-related collective bargaining

yes

Consultation in sector-related matters

yes

Type of membership

compulsory

Organisation’s domain with regard to sector

sectional overlap

Domain overlap with other organisations in sector

no

Domain overlaps occur with the following organisations

n.a.

 

2009

Number of member companies, total

95

Number of employees in member companies, total

1,464

Number of member companies in sector

35

Number of employees in member companies in sector

860

Source of membership figures

Administrative

Domain density – companies

100.0%

Sectoral density – companies

23.0%

Sectoral domain density – companies

37.0%

Domain density – employees

100.0%

Sectoral density – employees

5.0%

Sectoral domain density – employees

59.0%

Description of organisation's domain with regard to sector

Membership of the FV Buchbinder, Kartonagewaren- und Etuieerzeuger (sectoral subunit: bookbinders, manufacturers of cardboard packaging products and cases of the Federal Economic Chamber) is mandatory for all companies operating in the aforementioned fields (self-employed and companies). Overlaps with NACE code 17 occur.

Representation of particular subgroups of enterprises

Due to compulsory membership, enterprises of all sizes are represented.

3. Inter-associational relationships

3a Inter-union relationships

3a.1 Please list all trade unions covered by this study whose domains overlap.

There are two trade unions representing employees in the paper sector: the Union of Salaried Employees, Graphical Workers and Journalists (GPA-djp) and the Productions Trade Union PRO-GE. There is no evidence of domain overlaps as the GPA-djp’s membership domain includes white-collar workers over the whole sector and blue-collar workers only in the paper processing industry, while PRO-GE’s membership domain encompasses blue-collar workers in the rest of the paper sector.

3a.2 Do rivalries and competition exist among the trade unions, concerning the right to conclude collective agreements and to be consulted in public policy formulation and implementation?

As the domains of the two trade unions are clearly demarcated, no major rivalries and no competition is reported.

3a.3 If yes, are certain trade unions excluded from these rights?

No. Both trade unions conclude collective agreements and are consulted in public policy formulation and implementation.

3b Inter-employer association relationships

3b.1 Please list all employer associations covered by this study whose domains overlap.

There are four different employer groups in the paper industries covered by this study. Under the umbrella of the Federal Economic Chamber (WKO), there are three subunits which conclude collective agreements in the sector: the paper industry sectoral subunit (FVPI), the paper producing industry sectoral subunit (FVPVI) and the bookbinders, manufacturers of cardboard packaging products and cases sectoral subunit (FVBKE). Furthermore, the voluntary employers’ association Austropapier, whose membership domain overlaps 100% with the FVPI, is covered in this study due to its membership of CEPI.

3b.2 Do rivalries and competition exist among the employer associations, concerning the right to conclude collective agreements and to be consulted in public policy formulation and implementation?

There are clear-cut domain demarcations of the subsectoral units of the WKO, and therefore there is no competition between them. In the case of the voluntary employer association Austropapier, which overlaps to 100% with the FVPI, no rivalries are reported as the areas of responsibility and competencies of the two organisations are well defined and demarcated. While the FVPI as a social partner organisation is responsible for social policy, trade policy, (further) training and collective bargaining, the voluntary Austropapier’s activities cover environmental and energy policy, commodities, research and development, public relations and statistical data collection. All four employers’ organisations are consulted by the authorities with regard to public policy.

3b.3 If yes, are certain employer associations excluded from these rights?

Only the WKO’s subunits possess the capacity to conclude collective agreements. Austropapier has not been invested with this capacity (more information see paragraph 6b.1).

3b.4 Are there large companies or employer associations which refuse to recognise the trade unions and refuse to enter collective bargaining?

No

4. The system of collective bargaining

4.1. Estimate the sector’s rate of collective bargaining coverage (i.e. the ratio of the number of employees covered by any kind of collective agreement to the total number of employees in the sector).

The sector’s rate of collective bargaining coverage lies at 100%. This is due to the compulsory membership of all of the sector’s companies in the WKO and its relevant subunits.

4.2. Estimate the relative importance of multi-employer agreements and of single-employer agreements as a percentage of the total number of employees covered. (Multi-employer bargaining is defined as being conducted by an employer association on behalf of the employer side. In the case of single-employer bargaining, it is the company or its subunit(s) which is the party to the agreement. This includes the cases where two or more companies jointly negotiate an agreement.)

In Austria, collective agreements are –almost without exception – negotiated at the multi-employer sectoral level. Generally, about 98% of all employees in the private sector are covered by collective agreements (with some exceptions in the service sector). The paper sector relies exclusively on multi-employer settlements.

4.2.1. Is there a practice of extending multi-employer agreements to employers who are not affiliated to the signatory employer associations?

n/a

Due to the compulsory membership of the WKO and its subunits, all employers are included.

4.2.2. If there is a practice of extending collective agreements, is this practice pervasive or rather limited and exceptional?

n/a

Due to the compulsory membership of the WKO and its subunits, all employers are included.

4.3. List all sector-related multi-employer wage agreements* valid in 2008 (or most recent data), including for each agreement information on the signatory parties and the purview of the agreement in terms of branches, types of employees and territory covered.

* Only wage agreements which are (re)negotiated on a reiterated basis.

Table 8: Sector-related multi-employer wage agreements

Bargaining parties

Purview of the sector-related multi-employer wage agreements

 

Sectoral

Type of employees

Territorial

FVPI on behalf of employers and PRO-GE on behalf of employees

All member companies of the FVPI

Blue-collar employees

National

FVPI on behalf of employers and GPA-djp on behalf of employees

All member companies of the FVPI

White-collar employees

National

FVPVI on behalf of employers and GPA-djp on behalf of employees

All member companies of the FVPVI

White-collar employees

National

FVPVI on behalf of employers and GPA-djp on behalf of employees

All member companies of the FVPVI

Blue-collar employees

National

4.4. List the sector’s four most important collective agreements (single-employer or multi-employer agreements) valid in 2008 (or most recent data), including for each agreement information on the signatory parties and the purview of the agreement in terms of branches, types of employees and territory covered. Importance is measured in terms of employees covered.

See section 4.3.

5. Formulation and implementation of sector-specific public policies

5.1. Are the sector’s employer associations and trade unions usually consulted by the authorities in sector-specific matters? If yes, which associations?

All employer associations and trade unions in the sector report that they are consulted by regularly the authorities.

5.2. Do tripartite bodies dealing with sector-specific issues exist? If yes, please indicate their domain of activity (for instance, health and safety, equal opportunities, labour market, social security and pensions etc.), their origin (agreement/statutory) and the interest organisations having representatives in them:

There are no tripartite bodies in the sector and no formal bipartite body. Social partner consultation is based on a practice of permanent, but informal, cooperation, rather than on legal regulations.

6. Statutory regulations of representativeness

6a Statutory regulations of representativeness for trade unions

6a.1 In the case of the trade unions, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which a union must meet, so as to be entitled to conclude collective agreements? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

According to the Labour Constitution Act (ArbVG), trade unions possess the capacity to conclude collective agreements only if they are independent of the opposing side and if the Federal Arbitration Board (Bundeseinigungsamt), a joint body established within the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection (BMASK), has granted them recognition as possessing it by virtue of their extensive occupational and territorial coverage and major economic importance. The Act therefore restricts the capacity to conclude collective agreements to collective interest organisations which are independent of the opposing side, representative, operative above company level and in a position to wield effective bargaining power. On the unions’ side, only the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB) meets these criteria. According to its statutes, the ÖGB’s member unions, such as the GPA-djp or PRO-GE, are subunits of the ÖGB and not independent unions. Formally, only the ÖGB would be authorised to conclude collective agreements. In practice, though, the member unions possess great autonomy, so that they negotiate and conclude collective agreements at the sectoral level and sign them off on behalf of the ÖGB.

6a.2 In the case of the trade unions, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which a union must meet, so as to be entitled to be consulted in matters of public policy and to participate in tripartite bodies? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

Trade union consultation is based on a practice of permanent, but informal, social partner cooperation, rather than on legal regulations. There are no tripartite bodies in the sector.

6a.3 Are elections for a certain representational body (e.g. works councils) established as criteria for trade union representativeness? If yes, please report the most recent electoral outcome for the sector.

No

6b Statutory regulations of representativeness for employer organisations

6b.1 In the case of the employer organisations, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which an organisation must meet, so as to be entitled to conclude collective agreements? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

According to the Labour Constitution Act (ArbVG), collective agreements can only be concluded between collective bodies of employers and collective bodies of employees which possess the capacity to conclude collective agreements. The WKO and its various subunits are automatically invested with this capacity due to the fact that they are representative bodies established by statute law for which membership is obligatory.

6b.2 In the case of the employer organisations, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which an organisation must meet, so as to be entitled to be consulted in matters of public policy and to participate in tripartite bodies? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

Similar to the process of trade union consultation (see 6a.2), employer consultation is based on the practice of permanent, but informal, social partner collaboration rather than on legal regulations. There are no tripartite bodies in the sector.

6b.3 Are elections for a certain representational body established as criteria for the representativeness of employer associations? If yes, please report the most recent outcome for the sector.

No.

7. Commentary

Industrial relations in the paper sector correspond largely to the standard pattern in Austria’s economy. This applies specifically to WKO’s and its subunits’ membership domain, which includes all companies in the sector due to obligatory membership. Therefore, the collective bargaining coverage lies at 100%. There are six collective agreements in the sector, of which the four listed above can be considered the most important ones within the sector.

They are concluded between the relevant subunits of the WKO, the FVPI and the FVPVI, and the respective trade unions, the GPA-djp and PRO-GE, on the other side. Within the paper industry, which is represented by the FVPI on the employers’ side, there is one collective agreement for blue-collar workers (concluded by PRO-GE) and one for white-collar workers (concluded by GPA-djp). Within the paper processing industry there are two collective agreements: separate ones for blue- and white-collar workers, which are both signed by the FVPVI and the GPA-djp trade union. Topics covered are for example holiday pay, flexibilisation or shortening of working time. In the collective agreements for the paper industry, the agreed normal weekly working hours amount to 36 hours with full compensation (with a five-shift operation). This reduction of working time was implemented almost 10 years ago.

The unionisation rates in the sector are very high for both trade unions – 70% for the GPA-djp and almost 100% for the PRO-GE (as reported by a representative). There are neither recognition problems, nor jurisdictional disputes in the sector. However, there is some confusion as regards employer representation. A small number of companies that are member of the WKO’s Printing subsectoral unit (FVD) and/or the voluntary employer organisation VDM, which refer largely to the NACE 18 area (printing), should rather belong to the NACE 17 sector. This concerns about 10 companies with estimated 300–500 employees, according to a FVD representative. For the majority of those workers, the correct sector-related collective agreements are applied; in some cases, however, collective agreements of the printing sector are wrongly applied.

Bernadette Allinger, FORBA (Working Life Research Centre)

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