05 september 2004
During summer 2004, the Austrian media have alleged a series of cases of large-scale 'social fraud' committed by companies in various sectors. The most recent and prominent such cases refer to a large German-based food retailer that runs hundreds of stores in Austria and a road haulage company headquartered in Carinthia.
23 augusti 2004
On 13 August 2004 - as in the previous August (AT0309202F ) - Austrian (the former Austrian Airlines national air carrier) was hit by limited strike action involving flight crew. As a consequence, according to management, a number of the day’s scheduled flights had to be cancelled at short notice, which disrupted the travel plans of some 6,000 passengers who had booked a flight with Austrian. The financial costs caused to the company by the action amounted to at least EUR 650,000.  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/dispute-at-austrian-airlines
12 augusti 2004
The phenomenon of undeclared work - defined as 'any paid activities that are lawful as regards their nature but not declared to the public authorities'- is an issue which has been preoccupying the EU institutions for a number of years. In 1998, the European Commission issued a Communication  on undeclared work, which was designed to launch a debate on the causes of such work and the policy options for combating it (EU9804197F ). It suggested that there was a need to clarify the causes and extent, and concluded that combating undeclared work should be part of the overall European employment strategy .  http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/employment_strategy/index_en.htm  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/undefined/commission-targets-undeclared-work  http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/employment_strategy/index_en.htm
10 augusti 2004
On 30 June 2004, most of the 2,700 or so employees of Postbus AG, Austria’s largest bus operator, which runs a large proportion of regional bus services, held a series of half-day works meetings. As a consequence, almost all the company’s vehicles were kept in their garages during the morning, causing inconvenience for more than half a million passengers (in particular school pupils) in reaching their destinations. The meetings were organised by the company’s works council in order to inform the employees about, and protest against, government plans to sell a third of Postbus AG to private bus companies.
22 juli 2004
According to the latest data from the Labour Market Service (Arbeitsmarktservice, AMS), there were 202,787 unemployed people on average in June 2004, which corresponds to an overall unemployment rate of 5.9%. This represented a slight increase of 0.9% on the same month in 2003. A notable feature is that the rise in overall unemployment - in contrast to the trend over 2001-3 - results exclusively from an increase in women’s unemployment, whereas men’s unemployment has decreased slightly, as has youth unemployment. This marks a possible turning point in a long-standing and continuous tendency of rising unemployment among the latter groups since 2001. It is important to note that all these figures are calculated according to the Austrian method of counting unemployment, as established by the AMS. The EU method of calculation produces an unemployment rate of 4.2% for June 2004.
06 juli 2004
A public debate on possible longer working hours has recently been initiated by the new president of the Federation of Austrian Industry (Industriellenvereinigung, IV), Veit Sorger, who was elected in mid-June 2004. The IV is a cross-sector voluntary employers’ organisation representing manufacturing industry, and covers part of the domain of the Chamber of the Economy (Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, WKÖ), of which membership is obligatory for employers. At his inaugural press conference on 16 June, implicitly referring to the broad working time debate that has arisen in Germany (DE0306109F ), the IV president called into question Austria’s working time regime, which is perceived as being rigid and too inflexible by most of the IV members. Mr Sorger stated that, in order to improve the competitiveness of Austria’s businesses, an extension of overall working hours and/or a reduction in the number of public holidays would be inevitable. He called on the government to realise its own programme for the current legislative period, which includes plans for a further flexibilisation of working hours.  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/controversy-over-working-time
21 juni 2004
The Chambers of Labour (Arbeiterkammern, AK), alongside the Austrian Trade Union Federation (Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund, ÖGB), represent labour within the Austrian system of social partnership. Unlike ÖGB, membership of which is voluntary, AK is an obligatory interest representation body. Accordingly, all employees covered by the AK’s legally demarcated membership domain, both blue-collar and white-collar, must belong to the AK. This obligation embraces all employees, apprentices, people on maternity/paternity leave and unemployed people (AT0004218F ), with the exception of two distinct groups of excluded employees: executive staff (ie managers equipped with the power to employ people); and employees in most parts of the public sector (except for railway and postal service employees, who do belong to the AK’s membership domain). Present total membership is about 2.6 million. The Chambers also represent the interests of retired employees.  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/undefined/chambers-of-labour-under-renewed-discussion
20 juni 2004
In March 2004, the EIRO national centres in 24 European countries were asked, in response to a questionnaire, to give a brief overview of their country's system for dealing with individual labour/employment disputes through the courts, along with data on: the volume of cases; the costs; the timeframe; alternatives to going to court; and any current debate on these issues. The Austrian responses are set out below (along with the questions asked).
07 juni 2004
In October 2001, representatives of Austria’s largest blue- and white-collar unions decided to merge their organisations. Hans Sallmutter, the chair of the Union of Salaried Employees (Gewerkschaft der Privatangestellten, GPA), and Rudolf Nürnberger, the chair of the blue-collar Metalworking and Textiles Union (Gewerkschaft Metall-Textil, GMT), announced that a single large union with about half a million members would be established in the coming years (AT0110205N ). Subsequently, three other unions decided to join the planned merger - the Union of Chemical Workers (Gewerkschaft der Chemiearbeiter, GdC), the Printing and Paper Union (Gewerkschaft Druck und Papier, GDP), and the Union of Agricultural, Food, Beverage and Tobacco Workers (Gewerkschaft Agrar-Nahrung-Genuss, ANG). All five unions are affiliated to the Austrian Trade Union Federation (Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund, ÖGB).  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/largest-blue-and-white-collar-unions-intend-to-merge
01 juni 2004
In line with international developments, Austrian commerce, and in particular the retail sector, has over recent years been faced with intensified competition and new competitive management strategies, caused by the growing internationalisation of the market. This has resulted in a considerable movement towards market concentration, accompanied by pressures for restructuring and deregulation of employment. These developments - which have resulted in industrial disputes, notably over (liberalised) working hours, since the mid-1990s (AT0307201N ) - have, according to commentators, had a problematic impact on the sector’s working conditions, especially as regards job security, quality of work, working hours regulations and remuneration.  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/government-proposes-amendments-to-shop-opening-hours-act