Arbeiter, literally "worker", roughly equivalent to English "blue-collar worker). In German, the term is mostly used to denote manual workers as opposed to white-collar workers (Angestellte), a distinction that is increasingly seen as discriminatory, in particular since its use is not only of semantic but also of practical importance. In one sense, it denotes wage-earners, i.e. persons who place their work at the disposal of an employer). A distinction is made between skilled (Facharbeiter) and unskilled (Hilfsarbeiter) workers.
From the 19th century, the term Arbeiter was used to denote wage-earners in industry and trade as well as in agriculture, i.e. members of the lower social classes. Organised labour, e.g. the Labour Movement has since successfully fought for workers' political and social rights and thus completely changed their standing. Social class differences are now regarded as being largely eliminated. Work standards are governed by Sec. 1,151 of the Civil Code (ABGB), collective agreements and special laws.