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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Energy prices and social law: frequent inquiries call for AK consultants

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President Andreas Stangl and district office manager Christian Breyer (r.)
Image: sedi
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The Chamber of Labor remains challenged: After many labor law inquiries in the wake of the corona pandemic, consumer protection at the AK is currently sweating. “In the field of energy issues, we have a fivefold increase. The amount of consulting work is enormous, that’s a huge issue,” said Andreas Stangl, President of the Upper Austrian Chamber of Labour, during a visit to Ried. For electricity and gas tariffs, it is strongly advisable to use the E-Control service page or portals such as druchblicker.at.

“New customers” in particular should pay close attention to contract elements such as commitment periods. It will be followed with excitement how hard-fought proceedings such as those with the association, in which the judgment is not yet final, will continue to develop. It will probably take longer before there is clarity as to which price increases are legal on which basis. “It is important that in the end there is a clean solution for everyone.” In any case, the merit order principle, according to which the high gas price has recently driven up electricity prices, is clearly to be questioned. According to Stangl, this model fuels inflation and puts an enormous strain on households. In Upper Austria in particular, there is a clear need to catch up on aid packages to mitigate the situation.

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The job market, on the other hand, has developed extremely well. “However, this in turn affects our legal protection record. We have recently registered an increase in the number of cases nationwide, with more than 80 percent of the cases coming from companies without a works council.”

6000 inquiries in the Ried district

From the point of view of the AK, the success rate in labor law is almost 80 percent. “Most of the cases involved workers in temporary workers, hospitality, trade and transport.” There were almost 6,000 inquiries last year at the Ried Chamber of Labor headed by Christian Breyer. The AK Ried fought for 3.3 million euros for members, with 96 cases or 2.45 million euros attributable to the area of ​​social law: core issues are pensions and care allowance for relatives of AK members. “We have a 43 percent success rate in pension cases, and even 79 percent in the area of ​​care allowance,” says Christian Breyer. In the previous year, the AK had around 350 social law acts throughout the district: “and the trend is rising.”

When it comes to employment law issues, every sixth to seventh consultation ends in an intervention, and the success rate is more than 80 percent. The AK Ried was successful in 110 out-of-court cases last year, 436,000 euros were brought in for members. In another 28 cases, there was a dispute before the court, with almost 90,000 euros being awarded. According to the AK, 116 of the 138 cases came from companies without a works council. “Works councils are not troublemakers, they are peacemakers,” says Christian Breyer.

55 cases related to withheld payment from the current employment relationship, 37 cases to differences in the final settlement of terminated employment relationships and 16 cases to unjustified dismissal. In one special case, AK was able to negotiate 148,000 euros in voluntary severance pay for a former, very well-paid employee of a group.

The lowest amount won last year via the Ried Chamber of Labor: 62.29 euros. “No case is too small for us.”

Source: Nachrichten

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