Katzian: High KV contracts will “stimulate domestic demand”

You can't change the rules of the game during the game, says ÖGB chairman Wolfgang Katzian about wage negotiations. He does not believe in the wage-price spiral.

ÖGB Chairman Wolfgang Katzian (SPÖ) looks back on the autumn 2023 wage round with satisfaction. Purchasing power has been preserved and real wage increases have been achieved, he told ORF “at press time” on Sunday. Often, agreements were reached constructively and in good socio-economic traditions, but sometimes goals could not be achieved without opposition, Katsian said of collective bargaining negotiations. “We're not going to have a labor dispute because it's funny.”

Despite criticism of inflation last year, the union leader defended the fact that the union maintained it as the basis for calculating Collective Agreement (KV) 2024. You can't change the rules of the game during the game, he explained, referring to the so-called Benya formula, according to which annual wage increases are based on inflation and productivity growth.

Even though this calculation was disadvantageous to base employees, the union stuck to it. However, last fall, when inflation was favorable to employers, the former “money holders” demanded new parameters.

Katsian denied that high-wage contracts lead to wage-price spirals. Wages followed higher prices, not the other way around. In any case, the KV contracts will “stimulate domestic demand”. He also supported the hardship division among metal workers, which has registered 120 companies. This shows that the union has taken economic conditions into account.

More anti-inflationary measures are needed

To combat inflation, the ÖGB boss once again called for measures on housing and energy. In addition to freezing the rent, we should also consider taking back the last year and a half.

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He warned against a “campaign frenzy” until the fall, with discussions about the new National Council election date. If it is no longer possible to carry out economic stimulus measures, “it would be wise to vote early rather than messing around until the autumn”. Social Democrats are ready for this.

Katzian was amused by the fact that a grand coalition with the ÖVP could be formed again: “I've heard some postilions d'amours are out and about, and I'm interested to see what they come up with.” I refuse to become the social minister.”

It's clear that “50 percent plus 1” is needed for cooperation, and studies don't currently address that. The party responded with a laugh that FPÖ leader Herbert Kigl wanted to become “the people's chancellor” with his 30 percent. The ÖGB leader reiterated his rejection of a coalition between the SPÖ and the Freedom Party.

Regarding the FPÖ, he also said that he wanted to create something like a “firewall for the AfD” in Germany in Austria. Katzian explained that the union in Austria is also very quiet here. As for the EU elections, he positioned himself as clearly pro-European, as Austria benefited the most. “A fortress always has the disadvantage that you are locked in there,” asserted Susyan in another swipe at the FPÖ. (APA)

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