Chamber for workers and employees

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AustriaAustria  Chamber for workers and employeesp1
Logo of the Chamber of Labor and Employees
State level Federal level , state level
position Legal representation of interests
founding 1920
Headquarters Vienna 4 , Prinz-Eugen-Strasse 20–22
management Renate Anderl (President)

The Chamber of Labor , short of Labor ( AK ), at the federal level Federal Chamber of Labor , is the legal representation of employees in Austria . Its legal basis is the 1992 Chamber of Labor Act (AKG for short, to be found in Federal Law Gazette I 626/91). For most employees, membership in the chamber is compulsory.

There are similar interest groups in the German federal states of Bremen ( Bremen Chamber of Employees ) and Saarland ( Saarland Chamber of Labor ) as well as in Luxembourg . The Italian Camere del Lavoro , on the other hand, are local associations of trade unions on a voluntary basis.

Central tasks and resources

AK Vienna main building
The Chamber of Labor in Linz

The tasks of the AK are set out in § 1 AKG: "The Chambers for Workers and White-collar Workers and the Federal Chamber for Workers and White-collar Workers are called to represent and promote the social, economic, professional and cultural interests of workers."

Section 4 lists the means for fulfilling the statutory mandate: for example, statements in legislative procedures, sending representatives to corporations and other organizations, conducting scientific studies, advising and representing members.


Employees, marginal employees, apprentices, unemployed, military and civil servants , as well as persons on parental leave are compulsory members of the Chamber of Labor (with the exception of civil servants , contract employees of the public service, freelancers , employees in agriculture and executive employees). The more than 3.7 million members have a legal right to support in labor and social law issues.


All members have to pay a Chamber of Labor contribution of 0.5 percent of their gross salary, which is automatically deducted from the wages / salary as part of the social security contribution and forwarded to the Chamber of Labor. This means that the AK is financed "quietly" and is hardly noticed by the members.


Each of the nine federal states has its own chamber of labor, which together form the Federal Chamber of Labor (BAK) based in Vienna . The AK Vienna manages the business of the Federal Chamber of Labor.

Social partnership

In addition to the three other social partners, the Economic Chamber (WKO), the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB) and the Chamber of Agriculture (LK), the BAK is part of the Austrian social partnership . She works closely with the ÖGB, which also represents the interests of employees. The union reserves the right to conclude collective agreements. The expert staff of the Chamber of Labor organization are considered to be the unions ' think tank . They work out legislative proposals and submit statements on laws and ordinances.

Further tasks

Another area of ​​responsibility of the AK is consumer protection . Since the education of employees is an important concern of the Chamber, it operates numerous publicly accessible libraries. The largest of these is the social science study library of the Chamber for Workers and Employees in Vienna. The Chamber of Labor also collects the Working Climate Index . The Chamber of Labor in Vienna, Lower Austria and Styria offer a special training program for employee representatives with the Works Council Academy (BRAK).


* Union unity (GE) / Union left bloc (GLB)
** Aggregated value for all other lists in AK elections in the federal states
year FSG ÖAAB (VdU) FA EYE / UG Communists * Other **
1949 64.4 14.2 11.7 9.7
1954 68.6 16 2.5 9.9 3.0
1959 68.4 18.6 3.7 6.6 2.7
1964 66.5 21.4 3.6 6.7 1.9
1969 68 23.5 5.0 2.5 0.9
1974 63.4 29.1 4.6 0.3 2.4 0.2
1979 64.3 31.0 3.2 0.3 1.2 0.02
1984 58.7 36.5 2.5 0.8 1.4 0.1
1989 59.8 29.1 7.7 1.6 1.7 0.1
1994 54.3 26.1 14.4 1.8 1.1 2.2
1999/2000 57.5 26.2 9.7 3.5 0.8 2.3
2004 63.4 23.7 4.9 4.1 0.8 3.0
2009 55.8 24.9 8.7 4.7 0.9 5.0
2014 57.2 21.0 9.7 6.0 1.4 4.8
2019 60.48 18.56 10.07 5.43 1.51 3.95

Every five years, direct and secret elections take place in the federal states, in which a general assembly is elected for each federal state . The nine elected general assemblies elect nine state AK presidents. There is a choice of so-called parliamentary groups, the largest of which are each related to one of the major Austrian parties.

In the last AK election in 2019, the FSG achieved 60.48 percent of the votes (510 mandates) throughout Austria, the ÖAAB received 18.56 percent (174 mandates), the FA 10.07 percent (82 mandates) and the AUGE at 5.43 (42 mandates). Other political groups won a total of 32 seats. Of 3,066,270 eligible voters, 38.65 percent went to vote.

In 2019, the elections took place between January 28th and April 10th, depending on the state. Around 3.7 million employees were entitled to vote.

State Chamber Election date Deadline
AK Vorarlberg 28.1. - 7.2.2019 05.11.2018
AK Tirol 28.1. - 7.2.2019 05.11.2018
AK Salzburg 28.1. - 8.2.2019 08/10/2018
AK Carinthia 4.3. - 13.3.2019 11/26/2018
AK Upper Austria 19.3. - 1.4.2019 03.12.2018
AK Burgenland 20.3. - 2.4.2019 03.12.2018
AK Lower Austria 20.3. - 2.4.2019 03.12.2018
AK Vienna 20.3. - 2.4.2019 03.12.2018
AK Styria 28.3. - April 10, 2019 December 19, 2018

History of the Chamber of Labor

As early as the revolutionary period of 1848 , demands were made for the creation of chambers of labor with the right to participate in legislation analogous to the chambers of commerce . Initially, however, only the need for “workers protection legislation” and the demand for scientific research into the social situation were recognized. The application for the establishment of chambers of labor that the liberal Reichsrat MP Ernst von Plener made in 1886 was formulated accordingly . The House of Representatives then set up a special committee that negotiated for several years. On the occasion of the unification congress of the Social Democratic Workers 'Party of Austria in Hainfeld in 1888/1889, however, it was precisely the workers' representatives who rejected the plenary draft: they wanted no mere statistical bureau, but precisely defined rights. On the trade union side, there was also concern that the Chamber of Labor's rights of participation could serve as an argument against the introduction of universal and equal suffrage.

The Chamber of Labor Act did not come into existence. The task of "surveying the social situation" was assigned to a "Labor Statistics Office" in the Ministry of Commerce in 1898. A quarter of the “permanent labor advisory board” attached to it, which was also called upon to assess the law more and more frequently, consisted of workers' representatives.

An important initiative came from the Czech Social Democrats and Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk in 1917 during the time of the Danube Monarchy . Free and Christian trade unionists pulled together on this matter. On July 18, 1917, the Club of Bohemian Social Democrats submitted a motion to establish chambers of labor. On September 14, 1918, the Council of Ministers discussed the issue, but the envisaged parliamentary initiative never came about.

The Constituent National Assembly of the Republic of Austria decided on 26 February 1920, the State Secretary of Social Ferdinand Hanusch submitted Labor Act, the establishment of chambers of workers and employees for each of the states. Hanusch, who was also one of the chairmen of the Reich Commission of the Free Trade Unions, became the first director of the Chamber of Labor in Vienna after the Social Democrats left the government on October 22, 1920.

In 1921 the chambers of labor (so the short name) were equated with the chambers of entrepreneurs. However, their right to review draft bills was initially ignored by some ministries. However, within a relatively short period of time, the chambers of labor developed competent expert staff for lobbying in the interests of the workers. The first AK women's department was created in Vienna in 1925; its head was Käthe Leichter , who was later murdered by the Nazi regime . As an employee of an AK relief campaign for the unemployed, the members of a team of scientists led by Marie Jahoda developed their important study on the consequences of unemployment in Marienthal in Lower Austria . During the economic crisis at the beginning of the 1930s, AK Wien developed the “Youth at Work” concept with workshops for unemployed young people. This campaign was continued after 1934.

From 1934 to 1938 the chambers of labor were not dissolved, but were filled with followers of the authoritarian regime. After Austria was annexed to Hitler's Germany in 1938, her assets were incorporated into the German Labor Front .

After the war , the provisional state government passed the law on the re-establishment of the Chambers of Labor on July 20, 1945 - initially only recognized by the Soviets, in the zones of occupation of the USA, Great Britain and France only at the end of 1945. Therefore, the AK constitutions took place except for the area AK Vienna-Lower Austria-Burgenland did not take place until 1946: On August 25, 1945, the General Assembly of the Chamber of Labor Vienna-Lower Austria-Burgenland was constituted, subsequently the AK Tyrol was constituted on April 13, 1946, the AK Upper Austria on May 11 1946, AK Salzburg on May 11, 1946, AK Vorarlberg on June 22, 1946, AK Styria on July 29, 1946, AK Carinthia on September 11, 1946, AK Burgenland (separately) on October 4, 1948 and the AK Lower Austria (separately) on 6 October 1948 which the AK Vienna-Lower Austria-Burgenland for AK Wien was.

For decades, the Chamber of Labor Act 1954 formed the legal basis for the activities of this official representation of the interests of the employees, but in 1992 a new law came into force. After increasing criticism of the compulsory membership and tax-like pay-as-you-go financing of the statutory interest groups, the Austrian Chamber of Labor carried out a member survey in 1996. The question was: "Are you in favor of the Chamber for Workers and Salaried Employees continuing to exist as the legal representation of the interests of all employees?" It was answered in the affirmative with a clear majority.


The following parliamentary groups do not stand for election in all federal states:

  • Union left bloc (GLB)
  • Communist trade union initiative - international (KOMintern)
  • Green workers (GA)
  • FPK employee (FPK)
  • BZÖ employees (BZÖ)
  • Alliance Mosaic (BM)
  • Colorful Democracy for All (BDFA)
  • Union of Austro-Turkish Workers (TÜRK)
  • List perspective (PER)
  • The abbreviations of other groups: KOM, LD, GGN, Soli, NBZ

Current Chamber Presidents

Cultural engagement

From 2001 to 2005, the Chamber of Labor made possible the art project “Working Worlds”. This extensive series of exhibitions by museum in progress took place in the public urban space in the media poster, on info screens in the Vienna subway system and in the daily newspaper Der Standard .


  • Heidemarie Uhl , Ursula Leiner: History of the Styrian Chamber for Workers and Employees in the First Republic. Europaverlag, Vienna / Zurich 1991, ISBN 3-203-51156-8 .

Web links

Commons : Chamber for Workers and Employees  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Compulsory membership. Retrieved May 4, 2020 .
  2. SWS-Rundschau (54th year) issue 4/2014: 385–401
  3. ^ AK elections 1949 to 2019
  4. Chamber of Labor elections begin at the end of January . Article dated December 28, 2018, accessed December 29, 2018.
  5. 3.7 million employees will be called to vote in 2019 . Article dated December 28, 2018, accessed December 29, 2018.
  6. The history of the demand for chambers of labor was briefly described by the responsible committee on February 23, 1920 during the legislative process of 1919/1920, Stenographic Protocols - First Republic, Session 2, Appendix 736.
  7. Ferdinand Seibt: Life pictures for the history of the Bohemian countries. Volume 4, p. 206.
  8. Stenographic Minutes - House of Representatives, Session 22, Appendix 492.
  9. AVA ., Presidium of the Council of Ministers, Ministers' Protocols, Box 38, copies.
  10. StGBl. No. 100/1920 (= p. 171).
  11. Labor and Economy The Chamber of Labor - 60 years of co-shaping the Second Republic.
  12. “Working Worlds” , a project by museum in progress