Austria: Struggle at Austrian Airlines

August 14th saw the pilots and flying crew of Austrian Airlines (AUA) go on strike for two hours.

The management was shocked by this important step! It is expected to continue next week with further strike action. The management wants to cut AUA’s costs for pilots by 35 % by 2008. It is clear that this will mean wage cuts, and not cuts in flights.

This strike would not have been possible, if the Austrian trade union federation (ÖGB) had not been forced, by pressure from below, to organise the two strikes in spring against the government’s huge cuts in pensions. At the same time older crew members have the memory and experience of their brave strike of October 1993, which lasted three days and took place under more difficult public circumstances.

The Sozialistische Linkspartei (SLP) is the only political force up to now that openly supports the AUA strike action and tries to defend these workers from media attacks. An SLP leaflet supporting the strike received a warm response from strikers. The relatively high-income level of the pilots is being used to present them as privileged and rich. We are arguing for a common strategy to bring together different parts of the workforce (especially within the AUA, and also where workers in other air industry companies have worse conditions) against this obvious divide-and-rule-tactics. We will expose the incomes of the management to show the hypocrisy of the really wealthy and ruling elite!

We call on the ÖGB and other unions (railway-workers, postal services) to openly support the AUA-crew and organise a common protest against all planned cuts!

International Solidarity messages to the AUA-crew are needed urgently. Please send any solidarity messages to slp@slp.at and we will pass them on.

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