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Austria: Metallurgy sector collective negotiations get underway that ‘Should be heard in the tills!’
Planet Labor, 25 September 2019, n°11378 - www.planetlabor.com

On 23 September in Austria’s capital Vienna, the head of the PRO-GE industry union, Rainer Wimmer used these words to summarize the goals of his own organization and that of the private sector GPA union, both of which are stakeholders on one side of Austria’s metallurgy sector collective negotiations, with the FTMI (Fachverband Metalltechnische Industrie) employers’ body facing them from the other. The unions are negotiating for some 126,500 employees (1,200 businesses) and they have presented their demands for the sector’s traditional autumn round of negotiations. Given the sector’s robust 2018 earnings (90% of profits amounting to more than €2billion paid to shareholders in 2018), as well as a positive first-half 2019, both the PRO-GE and the GPA are calling for a 4.5% salary increase over 12 months with a guarantee of a net rise of at least €100 per month. In terms of working time, the unions are calling for the introduction of the right to opt for a 4-day working week. Finally, the unions are calling for a broader application of the working time calculation that can currently secure a 6th week of paid leave for employees with at least 25 career years. To date the FTMI has replied curtly believing that current circumstances indicate ‘the party is over’ and union calls, which secured a 3.46% salary increase in 2018, are ‘far from reality’. The launch of negotiations in the primary branch of the sector are set to be followed in the weeks ahead by the launch of negotiations in five metallurgy sector sub-branches, employing approximately 70,000.