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Kammern für Arbeiter und Angestellte#

Chambers of Labour, Kammern fuer Arbeiter und Angestellte (Arbeiterkammern), statutory Interest Groupsof all employed persons (with the exception of civil servants and agricultural and allied workers). Unemployed persons who were employed in the past remain temporary members of the Chamber of Labour. The Chambers of Labour were established in 1920 and are an integral part of the Austrian political system. When they were re-established in 1945 in Vienna and Burgenland, agricultural and allied workers in country estates also became members of the Chamber of Labour. The legal basis is the Chambers of Labour Act of 1992.


Each of the nine Austrian provinces has a separate Chamber of Labour and the nine regional chambers form the Federal Chamber of Labour, which is the administrative central organisation for all of Austria. The Chambers of Labour evaluate draft legislation and make proposals for amendments and thus participate in the legislative process. They take all measures that are necessary for representing the interests of the employees and their families. They transmit proposals to administrative authorities, send delegates to public bodies (e.g. social insurance institutions, and participate in decision-making on all matters regarding labour-management relations and economic and social conditions for employed persons and their families. They can request the labour inspectorates to inspect workplaces and establish special services for the protection of young workers. They also have a number of important powers as far as apprentices are concerned. The Chambers co-operate with the trade unions and the works committees; since 1992 members have been entitled to legal protection in matters involving labour and social laws.


The organs of the Chambers of Labour are: General Assembly, Executive Board, President and Expert Committees and Control Committees.


The General Assembly is directly elected by the employees (Austrian citizenship is not a prerequisite) for a period of 5 years. The other organs are indirectly elected or are appointed.


Organs of the Federal chamber of Labour: General Assembly, Executive Board and President. The President is elected with a simple majority vote of the General Assembly from among the presidents of the nine provincial chambers. Each provincial Chamber of Labour has a Chamber Office headed by a director, the Office of the chamber of Labour of Vienna is at the same time the Office of the Federal Chamber.


The Chambers of Labour are financed from a levy payable by all employees and retained by the employer.

Literature#

H. Uhl, Geschichte der Steirischen Kammer fuer Arbeiter und Angestellte in der 1. Republik, 1991; E. Weissel, Die Arbeiterkammer, in: H. Dachs, Handbuch des politischen Systems Oesterreichs Arbeiterkammerrecht, ed. by the Bundesarbeitskammer, 1993; L. Ungerboeck, Zur Geschichte der Arbeiterkammern in Oesterreich, master's thesis, Vienna 1994.