Conclusion of collective agreement for the first sub-sector, the machinery and metal goods sector (FMMI) reached After a stalemate in negotiations of the largest sub-sector in the Austrian metalworking sector, the machinery and metal goods sector, a ne …

Walton Pantland

Conclusion of collective agreement for the first sub-sector, the machinery and metal goods sector (FMMI) reached

After a stalemate in negotiations of the largest sub-sector in the Austrian metalworking sector, the machinery and metal goods sector, a new collective agreement could be reached in the fifth negotiation round on 28 October when employers and the sectoral unions PRO-GE and GPA-djp succeeded on having separate negotiations on extending existing flexible working time regulations and agreed on sustainable pay increases. Virtually at the last moment the strike actions scheduled to start on 29 October 2013 could be cancelled.

Main point of diverging positions between negotiating employers and trade unions- Working time flexibilisation

In exchange for pay rises (2,0 percent increase in effectively paid wages, well beyond the inflation rate and zero-increase in minimum wages, additional payments) the employers put forward the following demands:

  • introduction of a working time account for accumulating up to 167, 4 plus or minus hours without overtime bonus for extra work hours. Thus daily normal working hours could be extended up to 9 hours and weekly normal working hours up to 45 hours (in case of shift work up to 48 hours). The length of the compensation period within which the time account must reach zero should not be defined and limited by collective agreement but only agreed at individual companies´ level.
  • smoking breaks should not be credited to paid working time
  • and for more “age-adjusted working time schemes”, implying reduction of working time for older workers with income losses and longer working time for younger worker without overtime pay.

The new collective agreement provides for

  • Increases in minimum and actually paid wages from 3,2% to 2,6 percent with higher increases for lower groups, resulting in an average wage increase of 2,8 percent
  • The new minimum wage now stands at 1.688,71 Euro
  • Increases in apprentices´ remunerations by 2,85%
  • Increases in reimbursement allowances and additional payments by 2,1%
  • The new collective agreement will take effect on 1. November 2013

The achieved increase in real wages, in particular for low-income earners, should boost private consumption n 2014 which is forecast to reach a modest increase in 0,2 percent this year High inflation (+2,2 percent in 2013) and rising saving ration have had a dampening effect on the income situation which is forecast to improve in 2013. From the domestic perspective, the conditions for a lasting and broad-based upswing in Austria remain in place. Yet, the external environment (recession in the Eurozone and EU27) continues to hold important risks for the Austrian economy. After an increase by 0.8 percent in 2012, Austria’s GDP is projected to grow by 0,4 percent in 2013 and 1.7 percent in 2014.

Any deteriorating changes in working time regulations could be averted. The social partners agreed on continuing to have separate negotiations on flexible distribution of working time which are set to be concluded till June 2014.

The conclusion of the new collective agreement providing sustainable increases could be achieved only thanks to the massive support of works councils and workers in the businesses of the subsector which participated in more than 300 works meetings and in manifestations in front of the businesses of the chief-negotiators on the employers´ side.

Following the signing of the collective agreement for the largest subsector FMMI, PRO-GE and GPA-djp succeeded in settling a new deal with the employers of the smaller non-ferrous subsector (6500 workers) on 31 October, yielding identical pay increases. On Monday, 4 November 2013 the fourth negotiation round for the automotive subsector will take place in the late morning hours, followed by the second negotiation round for the gas and heating supply sector.

Given the conclusion of a second subsectoral agreement and a more constructive attitude on the employers´ negotiators in the remaining subsectors, our unions hope for a swift conclusion of the bargaining round for the whole metalworking sector, providing identical results


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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