Collective Labour Relations Act
The intention behind collective agreements is to ensure minimum wages and minimum standards as well as other important working conditions without the involvement of the state.
Collective agreements are concluded between representatives of the employer and the employees who have the capacity to enter into such agreements. Alongside the minimum wage they also regulate other essential labour law provisions (such as arrangements regarding pay, flexible working hours and the termination of the employment relationship, etc.).
According to the Labour Relations Act, statutory interest groups of employers and employees have the legal capacity to make collective agreements as long as they are independent of their negotiating partners and are responsible for the regulation of working conditions. Independence from the other party means that it must be possible to clearly assign the organisation to the employers’ or the employees’ side.
The statutory interest groups which have the capacity to conclude collective agreements include:
- The Chambers of Labour (representatives of employees);
- The Austrian Economic Chamber (representatives of employers) and
- the chambers of the liberal professions (e.g. doctors, lawyers).
The capacity to conclude collective agreements can, however, also be established via legislation (e.g. Bundesrechenzentrum GmbH – the Federal Computing Center).
In addition, the Federal Conciliation Office at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy can also officially recognise the capacity to conclude collective agreements of voluntary professional associations of employers and employees and certain other associations.
In the field of agriculture and forestry, recognition of the capacity to conclude collective agreements is carried out by the High Conciliation Commissions which are incorporated into the offices of the respective provincial government.