Austrian Federation of Trade Unions

   / Österreichische Gewerkschaftsbund
   A supraparty corporative organization of all members of trade unions, the federation was established in 1945. It represents the interests of industrial labor before the government. Approximately 50 percent of all such workers in Austria belong to the organization. Like the parallel bodies in other sectors of the Austrian economy, the federation must be consulted on laws affecting its membership before such measures are put in force. It also has an important voice in Austrian educational policy, particularly in matters concerning vocational training. The various factions within the organization continue to reflect the views of political parties whose ideologies are most congenial to them; indeed, party leaders have often been members of the Federation and played key roles in setting its agenda. The Socialist Party of Austria (SPÖ), with the single largest delegation in the organization, has frequently dominated its policies. However, the federation has often rejected extreme leftist political and economic measures. It did not support the call for a general strike that came in 1950 from the Austrian Communist Party, backed by the Soviet Union. The failed initiative was the last time the Soviets would try to steer Austrian domestic affairs during the occupation. As government deficits mounted throughout the late 1970s, the federation and Anton Benya (1912–2001), its leader from 1963 to 1987, cooperated with Bruno Kreisky, the SPÖ chancellor, who wished to link wage increases with greater labor productivity. The federation has general congresses every four years. During the intervening period, an executive presidium conducts its business.

Historical dictionary of Austria. . 2014.

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