Austria

  • Bernhard Ebbinghaus
  • Sabine Blaschke
  • Ferdinand Karlhofer
  • Franz Traxler
Chapter
Part of the The Societies of Europe book series (SOEU)

Abstract

Austria, one of the most corporatist post-war economies, is known for its ‘social partnership’ model of peaceful social relations. Organized interests of labour and capital come together in encompassing voluntary organizations and mandatory chambers. They play institutionalized roles in collective bargaining, but also in social and economic policy-making. Overcoming the political and social cleavages that split the First Republic and led to its end in the Civil War of 1934, a strong unitary union movement now exists, although political fractions, in particular the Socialist and Christian-Social wings, play roles in both the unions and the Chamber of Labour. Like other corporatist countries with a pillared system of representation, such as Belgium, Austria’s political and social organizations as well as its corporatist institutions came under increasing pressure from political scandals, dissenting voters, declining participation and turnout, eroding membership, rising criticism, and radical movements. As the sole encompassing union movement in Europe, the Austrian union confederation has been affected by these social and political changes, though the degree of centralization, unionization, and societal incorporation is still one of the highest in continental Europe. Until recently, the post-war system of industrial blue-collar unions, a general white-collar union, and public sector all-grades unions remained very stable, though the white-collar and public sector unions had gained in membership and influence vis-à-vis the industrial unions. Yet a process of restructuring via co-operation that might lead to future mergers into fewer multi-sector unions is currently under way as a response to economic changes and membership declines. Another challenge was posed by entry into the European Union in 1996 and increased economic internationalization, which threatens to undermine the corporatist institutions, such as the Chamber system.

Keywords

Europe Agglomeration Tria Trade Unionism Marin 

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Copyright information

© Bernhard Ebbinghaus and Jelle Visser 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernhard Ebbinghaus
  • Sabine Blaschke
  • Ferdinand Karlhofer
  • Franz Traxler

There are no affiliations available

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