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Austrian Trade Union warns of forwarding and warehousing strike over unresolved wage negotiations

The Vida Trade Union in Austria has announced a series of strikes impacting the freight forwarding and warehousing sectors.

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Vida says that the strikes, set to take place on June 25 and 26, are a response to employers’ failure to meet demands for real-inflation wage increases for approximately 9,000 workers in forwarding and warehousing companies.

In a recent press release, Markus Petritsch, chairman of road freight at the Vida Union, expressed frustration over the protracted negotiations:

“We are ready to negotiate and have proposed another meeting with the Chamber of Commerce for today, Monday. However, the employers have let the time pass unused,” Petritsch stated.

The planned warning strikes will occur in over 30 companies across several federal states, including Vienna, Styria, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Tyrol, and Vorarlberg.

The strikes are scheduled from 9-11am. on both days. During these hours, there will be no loading or unloading of trucks, potentially causing slight delays in the supply chains.

Petritsch has also warned that there could also be an escalation if employers continue to on the same path:

“For the time being, the [initial] warning strikes will only cause slight delays to supply chains. If the employers do not show themselves willing to negotiate even after the warning strikes, the duration and ‘accuracy’ of the strikes could be continuously increased.”

According to Vida, after four rounds of negotiations, the latest offer from employers includes a 5.8 percent inflation compensation for 2024, against a rolling inflation rate of 7.8%.

Additionally, a proposed two-year agreement suggests a consumer price index (CPI) increase plus 1 percent for 2025. However, the union remains dissatisfied, insisting on full inflation compensation and a real wage increase for 2024.

“The bottom line is that our demand for full compensation for inflation and a real real wage increase in 2024 remains unfulfilled. A warehouse worker or forklift driver earns on average just 2,000 or 2,200 euros gross per month. We cannot therefore accept an offer that would mean a loss of purchasing power for employees,” added Petritsch.