Tuesday afternoon Vienna saw the biggest thunderstorms people can remember.
Despite these catastrophic weather conditions 200,000 workers turned up from all
over the country in response to the call of the ÖGB (Austrian Trade Union
Federation) to protest against the proposed pensions "reform".
Today Austria is going on strike. It is the biggest strike movement the country has seen for decades. All sections of the Austrian working class will participate in this mobilisation against the pensions reform planned by the right wing government.
146 comrades attended our "Pfingstseminar", a socialist youth camp
organised by the Marxist tendency of "Der Funke" in co-operation with
several branches of the Young Socialists (Sozialistische Jugend, SJ) and other
left wing youth organisations.
Earlier this year we witnessed the reawakening of the Austrian working class in a series of huge mass mobilisations. The bureaucratic leadership of the unions called off the movement without having gained any major concessions. If they think that was the end of it then they have surprises coming their way.
Today the railworkers' union, GdE organised a 12-hour strike against the
plans of the right-wing government to split the Austrian Railways into
different units which has to be seen as a major step towards the privatisation
of the railways.
After the pension reform in spring 2003, the conservative black-blue
government (Peoples Party and Freedom Party) wasted no time in launching a new
attack on the Austrian labour movement. The Austrian Railways (OeBB) were to be
split up similar to the fragmentation of British Rail 10 years ago into
10 different companies. This would make downsizing the workforce much easier and
would also have tremendous effects on one of the most highly organised sectors
of the labour movement.