Thursday’s collective bargaining negotiations contain a lot of explosive material. Meanwhile, more than 300 retail stores will be on a one-hour warning strike from Thursday to Saturday.
On Thursday, GPA chief negotiator Helga Fichtinger said all sectors were on strike, from bookstores to major fashion chains and supermarkets. This means that the warning attacks come right at the beginning of Advent.
Retail workers launch warning strike in more than 300 stores
On Thursday morning, retail employees of Interspar and Thalia stores in Vienna’s Donauzentrum stopped their work for several hours. Unlike a strike, a warning strike is limited in time. He stated that the union did not want to publish the list of companies on strike, on the one hand, because of the surprise effect, and on the other hand, because employers feared employees and asked them not to participate in the strike. Fichtinger in ORF’s Ö1 “Morgenjournal”.
In the afternoon, trade unionist Fichtinger reported “massive attempts at intimidation and threats”. “We are currently facing cries for help from employees who are telling us via email and phone that they are being massively intimidated and even threatened with dismissal if they take part in strike action,” GPA’s chief negotiator said, according to the statement. There are also threats to cancel currently promised company loyalty bonuses. Many employees currently report from companies that do not yet have a works council.
Trefelik: “If there is any abuse, say it clearly, there is a problem here”
Rainer Trefelik, the employer’s chief negotiator, disagrees: “If there is abuse, please say clearly that there is a problem here. But raising general suspicion according to the method will cause something to get stuck and this must be rejected decisively.”
Negotiations failed in the fourth round on Tuesday
On Tuesday, trade talks over a new pay deal failed again in the fourth round. At first it seemed quite good, but in the end the ideas of the social partners were still very far apart. While employers initially offered a 5 percent salary increase and a one-off payment of 800 euros, this rate is now 6 percent and a one-time bonus of 1,000 euros. The union also reduced its demand from 9.5 percent plus the fixed amount of 40 euros per month to 9.4 percent plus the fixed amount of 15 euros. However, employee representatives reject one-time payments.
Handels-KV is one of the largest collective agreements in Austria
Handels-KV is one of the largest collective agreements in Austria and affects approximately 430,000 employees and apprentices in retail, wholesale and the motor trade. 70 percent of employees in retail are women. More than a third work part-time.
A new meeting date has not yet been determined.