Just before the beginning of the year, the social partners reached an agreement on a collective agreement in the trade sector. According to the GPA trade union and the Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKÖ) on Wednesday evening, the salaries and wages of employees in retail will rise by an average of 8.4 percent on January 1, 2024. It agreed to a staggered increase of between 8.3 and 9.2 percent.
According to Michael Pieber, regional manager of GPA Lower Austria, having an agreement last year was very important. “Retail workers were on the job during the Christmas period and now they're on the job over the holidays. They're ensuring distribution in the country. It's really important for us as a union this year that they know what they'll be earning starting January 1, 2024,” Piper said. It is important to cover inflation for salary groups and prevent lump sum payments.” A better result is always possible. However, a one-time payment covers inflation only once. As this is a record and will continue to rise, we want to avoid these payments at all costs. “We succeeded,” asserts the GPA state manager.
For the first time in the history of the collective trade agreement, the employers' side reiterated that the agreement is below 0.8 percent rolling inflation, according to its data. Due to the economic circumstances, full compensation is not possible from the companies' point of view, says Rainer Trefelik, head of the federal trade division of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKÖ). Rolling inflation from October 2022 to September 2023 was 9.2 percent. It is important for the employer's representative that there is no two-year contract. It will have limited space for maneuver through 2024 during volatile times. “We know that this cost increase will be very challenging for many companies. The structural conditions of the public sector set a high bar. In any case, we believe that 2024 will be better than the forecast,” Trefelik emphasizes in a press release.
Earnings of retail trainees increase by ten percent
Retail trainees' earnings will increase by ten percent after collective agreement negotiations are concluded. The income increases to 880 euros in the first year of training, 1,130 euros in the second year of training and 1,430 euros in the third year of training. The agreement raised the minimum salary for young professionals from 1,945 to 2,124 euros. According to the employer's representative, Rainer Trefelik, increasing the income of training is “an important investment in the future of retail”.
Across Austria, Handels-KV affects the salaries of 430,000 employees and apprentices. It is Austria's largest industrial partnership agreement. Almost two-thirds of the 430,000 employees are women; The percentage of women in retail is even higher. 60 percent of women work part-time in retail, while the part-time rate for men is only 13 percent.