Trends and Prospects in 34 Countries
Edited By Craig Phelan
Austria: Corporatist Unionism in Crisis 245
SABINE BLASCHKE Austria: Corporatist Unionism in Crisis 1. Introduction Austrian trade unionism is exceptional in its centralisation and unity. There is only one confederation, the Austrian Trade Union Confeder- ation (ÖGB) which comprises virtually the entire Austrian trade union membership. A union affiliated with the Freedom Party was created outside the ÖGB in 1998, yet so far this union has remained very small, virtually without influence, and has no right to conduct col- lective bargaining. In 2001, an independent teachers’ union was formed, yet so far it is also without influence. The ÖGB was founded in 1945 as an all-party confederation, but was subdivided into ideological factions on an informal level. The ÖGB affiliates are not independent associations, they are rather sub- divisions of the confederation which therefore exercises control over their finances, employees and negotiating function. At present the ÖGB has 12 affiliates, whose distinct domains are demarcated by sector and employee status (blue collar, white collar, public). There are several blue-collar and public-sector unions, but nearly all white- collar-workers in the private sector are organised in a single union, the Union of Salaried Private Sector Employees (GPA). This non- realisation of industrial unionism has led to a permanent conflict between the GPA and the blue-collar unions. Collective bargaining takes place on the sectoral level and is conducted by the affiliates on behalf of the ÖGB. Collective bargaining coverage in Austria is very high. In the private sector – the public sector is excluded from the right to bargain collectively...
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