How the non-party Labor Minister Kocher supports his Chancellor
Vienna (OTS) – Kocher’s defense work for Chancellor Nehammer in the press hour on October 1st, 2023 begins with praise for the government’s work: Highest social quota and the most social government in decades, later added by the highest budget of all time for the labor market service. If there is still so much criticism, you can get angry and neglect appreciation when choosing words. But this was just an excerpt from a speech that – not intended for the public – represented a different polarization in a small circle in a different context than in parliament, for example. The numbers show that there is no widespread poverty in Austria. Which numbers? The ORF’s follow-up questions were sorely missing here. If just one child in the country is starving, it is not widespread, but at what point? What if ten, a hundred, twenty thousand children starve too?
After moving to more technically secure territory, social partnership comes into play, which Nehammer certainly did not want to criticize “in general” or push back. However, Kocher frankly admits that the 3,000 euro inflation bonus was not reflected in the collective agreements “as we would have liked”. That wasn’t ideal for inflation, but it was good for employees’ purchasing power. A historical excursion to the time of high inflation rates in the 1970s, when wage policy was still in line with stability policy, as well as the statements about Kocher’s desired model of degressive unemployment benefits make it clear: It would all be better regulated by law instead of straining decrees and to let the social partners do their work.
In contrast, we reiterate our demands:
- The participation of the social partners in all matters to maintain social peace must be enshrined in law.
- Compulsory membership in the chambers of labor must be guaranteed by the constitution.
- Budget resources for voluntary professional associations must be determined as part of the financial equalization process.
We, the independent trade unionists in the public sector and in outsourced companies (UGÖD), demand this to secure social rights so that these are also necessarily linked to enforceable legal claims. It is significant that the Labor Minister calls for legal regulations for the normative implementation of his reform ideas (cutting unemployment benefits, wage restraint to combat inflation), but on the other hand strictly rejects a legal right to a reduction in working hours and suddenly points to the social partners’ scope for action.
However, labor and social policy is not a wishlist, but rather linked to the exercise of political responsibility.
In this context, that means that poverty in our country should be eliminated and not just limited to a low level, even if the context of the Chancellor on that July day in a wine shop in Hallein may have been different.
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Press spokesman for the UGÖD
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