Austrian Unions alarmed over rise in ‘mini jobs’

Austrian labour union leaders raise the alarm about the increase of so called ‘mini jobs’ in the tourism sector.

Official figures show that 185,000 people worked for the domestic tourism industry last year – more than ever before. Tourism sector labour union Vida warned from assuming that this development meant things were perfectly fine.

Vida officials pointed out that 43,000 people working in bars, restaurants, guesthouses and hotels were marginally employed, meaning they officially earned 376 Euros or less a month. Unionists underlined that this was an increase of 4,000 to figures registered in 2010.

More and more eateries and hotels are engaging people on short-time contracts. Especially students willing to earn some money during their holidays opt for contracts offering them little social security. Vida criticised that, while the number of mini-jobbers was exploding, tourism industry businesses hire a declining number of trainees.

Vida said that 5.7 per cent fewer traineeships took place at restaurants and hotels across Austria – which had an overall jobless rate of 4.1 per cent last month – in 2011. Hotel managers hit back yesterday, pointing out that half of the 3,000 traineeships offered via the Labour Market Service (AMS) were positions in the domestic tourism sector.

The hoteliers’ section in the Federal Economy Chamber (WKO) angered Vida last month by presenting plans for a new encouragement programme. WKO officials want to financially reward young trainees’ willingness to relocate. They explained yesterday that the upcoming bonus package would also feature various discounts for cultural offers and leisure time activities.

Vida leaders argued the tourism sector should rather concentrate on raising salaries for young employees. They also see an urgent need for a reform of the reputation of jobs in the sector which achieves around 18 per cent of Austria’s gross domestic product (GDP) year after year.

Austrian Tourism Marketing Agency (ÖW) chairwoman Petra Stolba recently warned that the current year would not be a “walk in the park” for the Austrian tourism industry. She stressed that a rising number of vacationers were opting for shorter stays.

A new report by the United Nations (UN) shows that the number of people going on holiday will rise from 940 million in 2011 to 1.8 billion in 2030. Only 70 million people spent holidays in 1960, according to UN data.

The managers of hotels and restaurants in western Austria are confident considering their business performance in the current winter season due to the snow which has blanketed the region in the past weeks. However, some towns and villages fear negative effects as roads were recently blocked by the large amounts of snow for some days.

Hundreds of tourists from all over the world had to stay in makeshift accommodations set up in schools and sports centres. Many missed their flights back home – while some wealthy Russians hired private helicopter transfer firms to get them out of the snowed-in areas in time.

Article published courtesy of the Austrian Times

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