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Labor Time: Resistance Against SPÖ´s Plans

Published: April 17, 2012; 17:57 · (Vindobona)

The governing Social-Democrats want to reduce labor time. Industrialists, the Chamber of Commerce and FPÖ decline that idea.

Labor Time: Resistance Against SPÖ´s Plans / Picture: © Vindobona.org

With its suggestion to reduce labor time in Austria, SPÖ causes massive critique. Rudolf Hundstorfer, Minister of Social Affairs: “Already more than one million Austrians work 38.5 hours per week. It would be good to extend this model.”

Veit Sorger, President of IV (Federation of Austrian Industries) commented that the idea is “irresponsible”. The reduction of labor time would endanger Austrian jobs. It would be wrong to think that reducing labor time means to have less unemployed persons, Sorger adds.

„Less labor time is not only contra-productive, but also dangerous. This model would risk the quality of Austria´s business location. A massive weakening of Austria´s competitiveness would be the consequence. At the moment, this is the wrong way.” Christoph Leitl, President of WKO (Austrian Chamber of Commerce) said.

The opposition party FPÖ commented that SPÖ´s suggestion is only “political propaganda which is out of touch with reality”. More employment may be created by less non-wage labor costs and a more efficient subsidy system for apprenticeships, FPÖ said.

Leitl referred to France, where the reduction of labor time deteriorated the nation´s competitiveness. Instead of more jobs, jobs were lost, Leitl warns. Austria would need more flexible labor time regulations instead.

SPÖ´s coalition partner ÖVP is cautious. Vice-Chancellor Michael Spindelegger (ÖVP) only commented that the issue is not pressing at the moment.

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