Representation of workers

The interests of employees are represented on the one hand by company-based works councils [Betriebsrat] and on the other hand by supra-company employee representatives, which are the trade unions and the chambers of labour.

Trade unions

All trade unions are affiliated to the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB). There are also nine regional organisations. Trade unions represent the political, economic and social interests of employees vis-à-vis employers, the government and the political parties.

  • Membership of a trade union is voluntary, and must be applied for.
  • Trade union contributions are deducted monthly from your wage or salary.
  • In order to become a member of a particular union, you must exercise the relevant profession and belong to the relevant industry.

The main tasks performed by unions include:

  • negotiating collective agreements;
  • ensuring employee participation across all companies under the Economic and Social Partnership;
  • providing legal advice to members.

Chambers of labour

The chambers of labour are responsible for officially representing employees’ interests in Austria. The nine chambers of labour, each one belonging to a particular federal state, are amalgamated under the Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour. Like trade unions, the Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour represents the social, economic and political interests of employees vis-à-vis employers, the government and the political parties.

  • Membership is compulsory, as laid down by law.
  • The contribution paid to the chambers of labour, referred to as the Arbeiterkammerumlage, is automatically deducted from employees' wage/salary, and is equal to 0.5 per cent of their gross pay.

The main services performed by the chambers of labour include:

  • providing advice on matters of labour law;
  • offering legal representation before the Labour and Social Court;
  • providing advice on social security, payroll accounting, taxation and consumer protection.

Please note

In Vienna, the Vienna Labour and Social Court has jurisdiction over disputes in relation to labour and social law. In the federal states, it is the regional courts that act as the court of first instance. Matters of labour law include, for example, disputes between employers and employees in relation to employment contracts or the initiation thereof.

Further links

Translated by the European Commission, altered by not certified translator
Last update: 1 January 2024

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy

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