In the heart of Austria, the labor negotiations for the collective trade agreement, known as Handels-KV, have entered a decisive fifth round. The outcome of this negotiation stands to impact the wages of approximately 430,000 workers and apprentices in the retail sector. This makes it the second-largest collective contract in the country.
The trade union is demanding a wage increase that matches the annual inflation rate of 9.2%, after four rounds of unsuccessful talks. Employers, on the other hand, have put forth an offer of a 6% wage increase coupled with a one-time bonus of 1,000 euros.
This deadlock has already sparked warning strikes across over 300 retail businesses last week. Participants of these strikes come from various sectors including bookstores, supermarkets, and fashion chains.
Consequences of the Standoff
The trade union is steadfast in its demand for a socially staggered settlement, rejecting any one-time payments. Their latest proposal is a 9.4% wage increase plus a fixed amount of 15 euros.
Employers, viewing the strikes as counterproductive in the current economic climate, argue they benefit foreign online giants more than local businesses.