Erosion or transformation. The Austrian Model in Crisis
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
ESA-Conference: Crisis critique and change
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
Austria is among those countries which fared quite well in the current crisis as it belongs to those countries in Europe with a considerable trade surplus. Nevertheless, the recent crisis and its effects on the labour market put the Austrian regime of Active Labour (ALMP) Market Policies to the test and sparked off a range of activities by the government, the social partners and the Public Employment Service (PES). Measures to secure employment and enhance human resources seemed to stand in the foreground (short-time work, etc). Nevertheless, the interplay between developments on the labour market in general and these strategies revealed that the Austrian ALMP-regime increasingly serves to regulate a segmented labour market based on precarious forms of employment through a polarised ensemble of programmes and measures. On the one hand a range of measures to support and protect highly qualified core employees of the Austrian economy were provided through the PES and the government. Social partners and the PES adapted these devices quickly according to special problems raised by the crisis. On the other hand the outlined adaptation of ALMP in Austria regulates and stabilises a flexible and segmented labour market based on precarious employment (eg agency work) and a growing segment of working poor and low-wage employment (Atzmüller et al 2012) which companies used as a buffer during the crisis. Through an expanded set of activation measures and disciplinary devices a docile workforce is secured when the economy takes off again. The paper will conclude with some considerations whether these developments can be interpreted as a slow erosion of the so-called Austrian model of coordinated capitalism linked to a conservative welfare model or rather a transformation towards some kind of workfarist investment state.