European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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Austrian members

Full members

Address :
Prinz Eugen Straße 20 - 22
1040 Wien
Contact :
Julia Hofmann / Nikolai Soukup
+43-1-501 65- 12522
+43-1-50165-42365
julia.hofmann@akwien.at
http://akeuropa.eu/

Short Description

LAST UPDATE MARCH 2018

The Austrian Chamber of Labour (AK) represents the interests of about 3.6 million workers and employees in Austria in close cooperation with the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB). It was founded by law in 1920 after pressure by trade unions and socialists to protect and extend social achievements. After being brought into line by the Austro-Fascist regime in 1934, it was liquidated by the Nazis in 1938. In 1945, it was re-established. The AK's basic tasks are to represent and promote the social, economic, professional and cultural interests of workers and employees (§ 1 Law on Chambers of Labour) and to support trade unions and works councils (§ 6 Law on Chambers of Labour). These tasks are translated into the following activities:

1) Fundamental and applied research and expertise for the benefit of workers and consumers: The AK employs a staff of highly qualified experts, who act as a think-tank for workers' interests by conducting studies on a wide range of issues. Both AK and ÖGB thus always have an up-to-date scientific basis for effective policy-making on behalf of workers and employees. Furthermore, the AK co-operates with the other Austrian Social Partners in conducting and publishing joint studies on social and economic issues. 2) Policy advocacy in the legislative process: It is through AK and ÖGB that Austrian workers participate in the legislative process. The AK gives its qualified opinion on draft legislation from the point of view of workers' interests, makes proposals for amendments and is often subsequently involved in the implementation of these laws, e.g. via advisory committees. Often impulses for legislative initiatives emanate from the AK and its experts.

3) Services: The AK offers a wide range of services to its members. The AK's experts provide information and advice on different issues such as labour law, social law, tax law and consumer protection. In labour law disputes between employees and employers, the AK provides legal assistance ranging from oral or written interventions with employers to free representation of employees before the Labour and Social Tribunals. Education and culture are another mainstay of the AK's service activities. It provides funding for activities and programmes in education, vocational training and adult education as well as the training of officials in the labour movement.

4) International activities: Since 1991 the Brussels Office of the AK (AK EUROPA) advocates the interests of its members directly vis-à-vis the European institutions. At the European level, the AK also has delegated representatives to the European Economic and Social Committee and various committees and advisory bodies dealing with issues of social and education policy.

Areas of expertise and competencies

The research activities of the AK are focused mainly on:

- Employment and economic development

- Distributional fairness

- Labour relations and employment rights

- Welfare state and social policy

- Education and lifelong learning

- Work-life balance

- Consumer protection

- Social Europe

- Managing Globalisation

On the EU level, the AK is active - via position papers on draft EU legislation, research papers and studies, the organisation of expert meetings and public events, lobbying and networking.

Work programme, strategic plan, projects

The AK outsources most of the research projects, only designated (and usually more limited) studies are carried out in-house.

Publications, language, newsletter

We deliver studies, brochures and periodical journals (inter alia Recht der Arbeit”, “Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft” and “infobrief eu & international”) (mostly in German) as well as publications in English. Our Working Paper Series “Materialien zu Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft” offers some Papers in English, but still mainly in German. It is specialized amongst other topics in research on inequality (e.g. on wealth, e.g. N° 137 dealing with the drivers of wealth inequality in the Eurozone) and policy proposals (for example a feasibility study on the golden investment rule: N° 138). The AK also contributes to the “independent Annual Growth Survey” (iAGS) (see for example the iAGS 2018), which is also published in our Working Paper Series. The publication series “Sozialpolitik in Diskussion” includes studies and conference documentations on social policy issues (for example a publication on social investments).

Publications by AK researchers also appear in academic journals as well as in external policy briefs (see for example an ETUI policy brief on well-being oriented economic policy). On our new scientific homepage, all relevant articles from AK researchers of two Departments (economics and social policy) are listed and some even include a link to the full publication.

In 2013, we launched the “A&W Blog” with daily updates: www.awblog.at. The blog covers topics related to labour and economic issues in a broad way, including issues such as distributional justice, social cohesion, and quality of work, gender equality and ecological sustainability. The blog articles are not restricted to domestic issues but cover also topics with European and global perspectives.   As we aim to include also articles from our European collaborates which we translate into German (as we have done from TURI members of Madrid, Berlin and Brussels), you do not need to hesitate to contact us if you could offer us an article.

Other networks the institute is participating in

AK researchers take part in many international, European and national networks.