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Bundesarbeitskammer (AK)

Address :
Prinz Eugen Straße 20 - 22
1040   Wien


Contact person :
Josef Zuckerstätter / Georg Feigl
Phone: +43-1-50165-2365
Fax: +43-1-50165-42365

Short description


The Austrian Chamber of Labour (AK) represents the interests of 3.2 million workers and employees in Austria in close cooperation with the trade unions (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 under the Second Republic. 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 and to work jointly with them (§ 6 Law on Chambers of Labour). These tasks are translated into the following activities:

1) 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 relevant issues. The AK thus always has an up-to-date scientific basis for effective policy-making on behalf of workers & employees. It closely co-operates with the other Austrian Social Partners in conducting and publishing joint studies on social and economic issues. The results of these studies feature prominently in Austria's political discourse and frequently serve as policy guidelines.

2) Participation in and monitoring of legislation: it is through the AK that Austrian workers and consumers 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 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 their members. The AK's experts provide information and advice on different issues such as labour law, social insurance, tax law, women's and family policy, worker protection, the protection of apprentices and young workers, unemployment insurance 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. They provide considerable funding for activities and programmes in education, vocational training and adult education as well as the training of officials in the labour movement. In addition, AK organises exhibitions, film screenings, theatre performances and concerts.

4) International representation: at the European level, the AK has delegated representatives to the European Economic & Social Committee, the ECSC Consultative Committee and various committees and advisory bodies dealing with issues of social and education policy.

Areas of expertise and competencies

The major areas of work of the AK are the following:

1) Expertise in economic policy, labour and social policy, environmental and transport policy, education policy and consumer protection, among others

2) Advisory service and legal protection for members

3) Training of works councils and union officials

4) Research into work-related matters

5) Think tank based advocacy

The research activities of AK are focused mainly on:

1) Employment & growth

2) Distributional fairness

3) Labour relations and employment rights

4) Education and lifelong learning

5) Compatibility of family and job

6) Consumer protection

7) Social Europe

8) Managing Globalisation

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

1) European treaties

2) Secondary legislation

3) European Social Model

4) Internal market

5) Services of General (Economic) Interest

Work programme, strategic plan, projects

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 (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 in research on inequality (mainly 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).
In 2013, we started a blog with daily updates: http://blog.arbeit-wirtschaft.at/. As we try to translate some information from our European Partners into German (as we have done from TURI-members of Madrid, Berlin and Brussels), you need not hesitate to contact us if you could offer us an article.

Furthermore, we offer (in German) some Journals and newsletters, for example “EU Infobrief”, “Recht der Arbeit” or “Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft”.

Other networks the institute is participating in

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

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