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 Austria

Key Facts

Population8,443,018
Collective Bargaining Coverage 95%
Proportion of Employees in Unions 28%
Principal Level of Collective Bargaining

industry

Workplace Representation

works council

Board-level Representation

yes: state-owned and private companies

Company Board Structure

dualistic

Sources: see individual country sections; where a range of figures has been quoted, the lower number has been taken

Trade Unions

Austria has a single trade union confederation, the ÖGB, to which 27% of all employees belong. Not affiliated to a particular party, the ÖGB nevertheless has strong political ties through its system of political groupings.

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Collective Bargaining

Industry-level agreements dominate in Austria, and as the employers are normally represented by statutory bodies – the economic chambers, to which all employers are obliged to belong – the agreements cover almost all employees.

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Workplace Representation

Employee representation the private sector in in Austria is through the works councils, with similar bodies in the public sector. By law they can be set up in all workplaces with at least five employees, although in reality they are rare in smaller workplaces. Works councils have important information and consultation rights, which amount to an effective veto in a few areas.

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Board-level representation

Employee representation at board level is widespread in Austria, with the works council choosing a third of the members of the supervisory board from its own ranks.

European-level Representation

With works councils dominating national employee representation, it is not surprising to find that it is they that choose the representatives in European bodies.

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Health and Safety Representation

The works council and specially appointed health and safety representatives are the key elements in employee health and safety representation. Although not elected, health and safety representatives can only be appointed with the agreement of the works council and should be appointed in workplaces with more than 10 employees. In workplaces with more than 100 employees (250 in offices) a health and safety committee should also be set up.

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Financial Participation

Estimates put the number of employees in Austria financially participating in the companies where they work at 100,000 in large companies and a further 60,000 in small and medium-sized companies (SMEs). This is about 6% of the total workforce and means that Austria is no longer lagging behind most other European countries (as was the case only a few years ago). Its participation rate now corresponds to the European average.

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