We all have experienced it: the boss ignores your rights, the corporate world tells you to work more for less pay, and politics serve only corporate interests. All of this can feel a little bit overwhelming.
But know this: You are not alone - you have got strong allies at your side. The works council, the trade unions, and the chamber of labour stand by you and fight for your rights.
The Works Council (Betriebsrat - BR)
Members of the works council are your democratically elected representatives in your company. They represent you and your colleagues towards the management. In addition, they are your first contact point for questions concerning your rights at the workplace.
Do you always have to work overtime? How can you request parental leave? Are you experiencing any form of discrimination in your company? The works council knows what to do and supports you.
The Power of the Works Council
Some companies do not treat their employees correctly. One major task of the works council is to monitor the compliance with employment law. Apart from that, it is entitled to negotiate company agreements with the management. For instance, these agreements can benefit you in form of reduced or more flexible working time, protection against surveillance measures, or extra pay.
A Strong Team
In its task to represent the interests of you and your colleagues, the works council cooperates with trade unions and the chamber of labour. During collective bargaining, trade unions negotiate together with business representatives, to enhance workers’ rights and secure higher wages for employees.
Both the trade unions and the chamber of labour support the works council in legal matters and give advice whenever needed. In return, the works council provides useful information about the needs and grievances of workers and employees. This is extremely useful in order to demand better employment laws and push workers interests on the political level.
The Trade Unions (and its federation: the ÖGB)
Some may think nowadays trade unions are obsolete. On the contrary - they are more important than ever! Alone we are powerless, together we are strong!
Over one million workers in Austria are part of a union. Together, we are fighting for better working conditions and higher wages. The more we are, the stronger our punch. Support our cause and join a union!
Experts in Your Industry
Trade unions represent your interest in your industry. They regularly negotiate collective agreements with business representatives. The main focus of collective bargaining are higher minimum wages, regulatory enhancements of workers rights and, not to forget, the two extra salaries per year (“Urlaubs- und Weihnachtsgeld”).
With you joining a union, you are not only giving the negotiating team more power but also strengthening yourself. Your union advises you in legal matters and, if necessary, fights for your rights in court.
The boss hasn’t been paying overtime? Your landlord is not willing to repair the leaky boiler? Your newly bought washing machine is damaged, but the retailer is not willing to refund it? Call the Chamber of Labour.
The Chamber of Labour is your lawyer and provides consultation on a variety of topics: from employment law to consumer protection issues. Furthermore, the Chamber of Labour plays and active role in the law-making process. In the interest of workers and employees, it examines proposed legislation and develops recommendations for improvements.
A Strong Partner
Every worker and employee, independent of their nationality, is automatically a member of the Chamber of Labour and therefore entitled to make use of its services.
As a democratically elected institution, all its members elect their representatives for the AK-Parliament every five years. The upcoming election will take place in 2024. Be sure to make use of your right to vote!
In cooperation with trade unions, the Chamber of Labour plays a significant role in fighting for the interests of workers and employees in Austria.