Austria-wide SPÖ day of action to close Kika/Leiner branches

2023-07-31 12:08:41

SPÖ calls for a package of measures against group tricks – Herr: “Such an insolvency at the expense of the employees should no longer exist. Insolvency law must be changed here!”

Vienna (OTS/SPW) On Saturday, July 29, 2023, 23 of the 40 Kika/Leiner branches in Austria closed. According to the group, at least 1,700 people will lose their jobs as a result of the bankruptcy. On Friday, July 29, 2023, another notice of termination from 349 employees became known in the course of the Kika/Leiner insolvency.

“While there was millions in corona aid and hundreds of millions in tax deferrals from the government for Kika/Leiner, 1,700 people there simply lost their jobs from one day to the next. While the company’s and Benko’s profits have been secured, so many people are suddenly left unemployed in times of massive inflation. We cannot accept that. We are on the side of the employees!” said State Party Secretary of the SPÖ Vienna and Member of Parliament Barbara Novak.

Side by side, volunteer activists, officials and mandataries, including federal manager Sandra Breiteneder, the Vienna National Council and deputy SPÖ club chairwoman Julia Herr, Viennese member of the National Council Kai Jan Krainer and head of the SPÖ delegation in the EU Parliament Andreas Schieder, today on July 31, 2023 at the Human Rights Square against this injustice as part of a dialogue and media campaign.

“When Benko started, 3,000 people were employed at Kika/Leiner. Now, five years later, those jobs are mostly gone. According to estimates, a profit for Benko’s Signa of 300 million euros remains. It’s a scandal,” emphasizes SPÖ federal manager Sandra Breiteneder.

In addition to a job guarantee for employees, the SPÖ is therefore demanding tightening of insolvency and tax law as well as the allocation of state aid. “If a billionaire and ÖVP friend like Rene Benko can enrich himself at the expense of the general public and the employees pay more, something is wrong. In the end, the Kika-Leiner deal cost thousands of employees their jobs and taxpayers around 300 million euros. Insolvency like this at the expense of the employees must no longer exist. The insolvency law must be changed here,” says Julia Herr, who submitted an application for repairs to the insolvency law at the last National Council meeting in early July. The application was rejected by all parties except the SPÖ. “With their rejection, the ÖVP and the Greens have shown that they continue to be lobbyists for billionaires and do not want to make politics for the general public.”

The SPÖ calls for five measures against corporate tricks:

  1. Public crisis aid should be given priority in the event of insolvency.
  2. In the future, a separate authority for major insolvencies in the Ministry of Justice will have to deal with imminent delays in insolvency and deal with them quickly.
  3. Liability for company splits must be expanded. In the future, split-off companies will also be mutually liable for the damage caused by the split.
  4. Owners must be held responsible in the future. Following the example of Germany and the USA, claims from creditors are to be converted into company shares. This ensures that they too have a long-term interest in the survival of the company!
  5. Stop trickery in the real estate transfer tax: Every house builder pays the full real estate transfer tax of 3.5 percent of the purchase price. A loophole in the law currently allows corporations to reduce this tax rate to 0.5 percent. The property does not change the owner directly, but a company – such as a real estate GmbH – that owns the property is transferred. This gap must be closed.

Action photos:


Questions & contact:

SPÖ Vienna communication
Tel.: 01/534 27 221

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