Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 14 June 2003

Austria Over One Million Strike Against Pension Cuts

MORE THAN one million workers in 18,000 workplaces all over Austria, a third of the entire Austrian workforce, took industrial action on 3 June - the country's biggest strike since world war two.

Laura Rafetseder, SLP, Vienna

Austria came to a complete halt. It was the third time within weeks that the ÖGB (Austrian trade union federation) had called for a day of action against the attacks on the pension system planned by the right wing ÖVP-FPÖ government of chancellor Schüssel.

The length of the strike action varied from complete 24-hour stoppages to more limited strike actions in some workplaces.

On the front line of the struggle, as on the 6 May strike, were public transport and railway workers, as well as the major formerly nationalised chemical and steel industries in Linz. Likewise, 250,000 public sector workers, including workers in schools, kindergartens and universities, and hospital staff and council workers, went on strike. Airport, bank and postal workers also took action, as did employees from the social and pension insurance. Even the police and gendarmerie joined in the protests!

In the major cities demonstrations, road blockades and protests were organised. In Linz, workers from the major industries joined together in a 10,000 strong rally in front of the Landhaus, the regional government. In Graz there was a demonstration of construction workers. At the BMW works in Steyr 2,000 workers took part in a protest.

Anger and cynicism

THE ANGER against the cynicism of the government is overwhelming. Members of the SLP (Socialist Left Party - CWI Austria) participated in Vienna, Linz and Salzburg. Our call for a general strike was met with a warm response.

None of the strikers we spoke to thought that the 3 June protests would be enough and were clear that only decisive action can force the government to back down. Yet the ÖGB leadership still hesitates to step up action and simply refuses to use the words 'general strike'.

However, the pressure from below is building up, especially from workers facing other serious attacks from the government. Railway workers that are faced with the threat of privatisation and 're-structuring' said that this is not only a battle against the pension cuts. Teachers went on strike for the fourth time within two months against the pension cuts and cuts in education. Robert Wurm, leader of the Postbus workers (postal and transport), said that a general strike could not be ruled out.

Many workers welcomed our support. One striker told us, "We did not forget that the SLP was there when we blocked the road on 6 May".

In a workplace canteen in Linz protesting workers wanted to discuss anti-capitalist and socialist ideas with SLP members. One SLP member, who is an elected school student representative, initiated a joint protest of teachers and school students against the attacks.

The government will try to ignore the 3 June mass action by the working class. It is clear that the next step has to be a general strike to achieve broad participation from all sections of the working class and to put extra pressure on Schüssel and Co.

Transforming Austria

THE SLP argues for a national conference of shop stewards, trade union activists, school students and the unemployed to build for a general strike and the struggle against the government.

If a strike movement succeeds in bringing down this hated government, or if the Schüssel's administration is blown apart as a result of the inner contradictions of the coalition partner, the populist far-right FPÖ, it will have a huge positive effect on the outlook of workers.

The scale of this protest shows that the last chapter has not yet been written in this struggle, which is transforming Austria and bringing back to life the fighting traditions of the Austrian workers' movement.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 14 June 2003:

New Labour Isn't Working

Fighting For A Living Wage

Euro debate - independent workers' struggle needed

Iraq: Occupiers, Privatisers And Exploiters

France - millions keep up strike movement

Drop All Charges Against Day X Detainees

Tony Woodley Speaks To The Socialist

Unison And The Political Fund

Left Make Gains On Unison Executive

PCS Elections - Big Opportunities For The Left

Manchester: Electricians Fight De-Skilling

Dick Turpin rides again

Blair's Lies Sow Divisions At The Top

Bush's plan for an Israeli/Palestinian conflict settlement comes unstuck

Austria Over One Million Strike Against Pension Cuts

Iran 1978-79: A Revolution Stolen From The Working Class


Home   |   The Socialist 14 June 2003   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleAustria: Far right temporarily halted

triangleEurope and the workers' movement after Brexit

triangleLiverpool Socialist Party: Neo-fascism rising in Austria?

triangleAustria - Hofer defeated, but far-right threat remains

triangleRefugee crisis: cruel capitalist regimes responsible


triangleWorkers' anger increases after Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleStriking back against the sackers' charter at Leeds University

triangleWorkplace news in brief


triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

triangleSet for national strike action

triangleThyssenKrupp - Tata steel merger

General strike:

triangleSupporting the general strike in Catalonia

triangleChe Guevara 50 years on - revolutionary socialist and fighter




Hong Kong

Campaign against political repression in Hong Kong



Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't



Solidarity with Catalonia - the people have the right to decide



Eyewitness: Irish socialist MP participates in events



Exemplary resistance by the people of Catalonia



Germany: Election results in political earthquake



Strike against Madrid's 'state of emergency'!



German elections: rise of the far right and right-wing government will provoke resistance



French Labour reform protests



Catalonia: Student strike called



Brutal repression of Rohingya people sparks massive humanitarian crisis



Solidarity with Catalonia in the Spanish state



Berlin hospital strike



Korean peninsula: is nuclear war likely?



Interview with leader of students' union in the Spanish state: "When we fight, we win!"

triangleMore International articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

triangle19 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Spanish revolution 1936-37

triangle19 Oct Cardiff East Socialist Party: Is equality for women possible under capitalism?

triangle19 Oct Wirral Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian Revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice