L’iniziativa legislativa assunta in Austria per determinare un allungamento dell’orario di lavoro fino a sessanta ore settimanali ha trovato la ferma contrarietà di Uni Europa, scaturita in una lettera comune di protesta al primo ministro austriaco e alle istituzioni comunitarie sottoscritta dai rappresentanti dei principali sindacati europei, tra cui First Cisl. La sottoscrizione è avvenuta in occasione della riunione dello Steering Group di Uni Europa svoltasi proprio nella capitale austriaca il 10 e 11 settembre 2018.
Di seguito il testo della lettera (in inglese)
Working time policy must look to the future, not to the past!
Dear Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz!
We address you as representatives of the Austrian EU Presidency to express our concern about current developments in Austria. As the host country of the EU Presidency, you have the opportunity to set a good example and set a new tone for the further development of the European Union.
For decades Austria has been an important vehicle of social progress, broad protection of employees and social partnership at the inter-company level. So we are all the more dismayed to see that your government is breaking with these values.
We – presidents of trade unions from all over Europe – have gathered here in Vienna at the invitation of the Association of European Services Workers Un- ions UNI Europa and GPA-djp to discuss the working time models of the fu- ture. Our experience in our countries shows: Flexibilisation of working hours only works if employee representatives and trade unions are involved and if it is accompanied by a reduction in the volume of work and a reduction in work- ing hours.
With the introduction of the 12-hour day and the 60-hour week, you have committed an extreme break with the principle of social partnership. It is not worthy of Austria’s democratic tradition to push through a law of this scope without any evaluation or involvement of the social partners and even to an- ticipate its entry into force by four months. In so doing, you are massively worsening the quality of life of employees in Austria and presenting families and single parents with unsolvable problems.
In doing so, you are also opposing a European trend which, with a view to the future of the world of work, aims to relieve the burden on employees and re- duce working hours. We expect the Chancellor of the country holding the EU presidency in particular to have progressive policies, not recipes from the 19th century. These legislative initiatives have only the profit of corporations in mind and not the well-being of people.
Chancellor, you have a responsibility towards the Austrians – but you also have a responsibility towards Europe. You are a supporter of the doctrine that the EU must act “less but more efficiently” and are in favour of a small EU budget. However, you are thus actively restricting the EU’s room for manoeu- vre and rejecting the social policy agenda. Your current policy threatens so- cial cohesion within the EU and clearly opposes social progress.We would like to express our protest against this. We stand wholeheartedly behind the Austrian trade unions and will support them in their protest measures. As a European trade union movement, we will monitor developments in Austria and support employees.