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Means-tested Minimum Income: A General Federal Law Now Instead Of Surrender To The destructive Forces!

Submitted by Aktive Arbeits… on Fri, 11.11.2016 - 22:11

(Vienna, 11th November 2016) Christian Kern has given away the “last chance” he swore on oath when he assumed office by pitifully giving in to the destructive forces of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) and the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) on the evening of 8th November 2016. These parties launched a malicious campaign against the poorest months ago. According to article 12, paragraph 1 of the Federal Constitution Law the confederation was always able to lay down the principles in “poverty affairs” by lawand was therefore dependent on the consent of the provinces.

The organization “Active Unemployed Austria” therefore asks Chancellor Christian Kern to put through a general outline of the federal law to save and elaborate the means-tested minimum income scheme with the following principles:

  • The first priority aim is to fight poverty with gradually leading the means-tested minimum income to the official poverty danger line according to EU-SILC. At present, the means-tested minimum income for a single person is approximately 300 euros below EU-SILC.

  • Respect the human right of freely chosen gainful employment, which should be as productive as possible, free choice of training courses and employment programmes. Abolish the circumvention of regular collective agreements and of the industrial law by the “second labour market”. No non-profit compulsory work!

  • Put through the human right of free occupational choice and occupational training, independent of age!

  • Guarantee the human right to dwell by means of a right of residential allowance which fully covers the residential costs. Abolish the entry in the land register in owner-occupied flats/owners’ homes which are for one’s own personal use, because otherwise the poverty of the next generation is artifically caused by the state.

  • Respect the human right of property by raising the wealth exemption limit to 20,000 euros of “usable assets” for each person. The right to maintain a middle-class car.

  • Guarantee the human right of social security and securing one’s livelihood by abolishing or at least defusing the harassing sanction regime: No benefit cuts below subsistence level as well as the duty to guaranteeing a humane survival by non-compromising payments in kind.

  • Promote the taking up of occupations by raising the earnings exemption limits to 30% (per person)

  • Respect the right of protection of private life

  • Respect the human right of participation according to the ILO recommendation 202, the setting up of a legal and social profession for unemployed people as an agency for legal information and for legal assertion and as a platform of the self-organizations of the affected people.

The Austrian Federation of Labour Unions and the Workers’ and Employees’ Professional Association failed as well

The low commitment of the Austrian Federation of Labour Unions and the Workers’ and Employees’ Professional Association to secure and elaborate the means-tested minimum income scheme is shameful. It wasn’t until the last minute that the Workers’ and Employees’ Professional Association and the Austrian Federation of Labour Unions have pretended some public pressure in the form of press releases in this bad production when it was foreseeable that the Austrian Peoples’ Party (ÖVP) and the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) wanted to let the means-tested minimum income to expire.

The forced pressure by the Austrian People’s Party and the Freedom Party on poor people, unemployed persons, migrants and refugees is levelled at all employees: human beings should be compelled to take up gainful employment under increasingly worse conditions. The broad tendency is that regular staff of the permanent workforce is being replaced by highly subsidized low-wage workers. People who have still a regular occupation are increasingly frightened to even lose their jobs and to be deprived of their rights, for which reason even these people have to accept increasingly worsening working and living conditions.

It is particularly bad that more and more people have to subject themselves to the repressive regime of the means-tested minimum income scheme, only because politics and economy don’t offer gainful employment for 500,000 human beings at all and for another million people there are only part-time jobs which don’t even guarantee wages that secure the livelihood!

The playing off of employees against each other by the Austrian Peoples’ Party (ÖVP) and the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) is apparently for distracting from the fact that these parties primarily represent the interests of the ruling elites: the capital incomes and profits of the bigger businesses continue to rise, whereas the incomes of paid labour have been stagnant for years and which even goes down conspicuously for the lowest fifth.

This is why it is incomprehensible that the federal chairman of the Austrian Federation of Labour Unions has – apart from some positive claims like an increase of the means-tested minimum income – decided on repressive claims on the 30th March 2016 like the “execution of extant possibilities of sanctions in the case of missing willingness to take up work” and “payment in kind instead of cash payment: direct payments to lessors of flats and energy suppliers”1. On the basis of the compromising data communication the latter would even be contrary to human rights and unconstitutional and counterproductive! Particularly bad is: even the once left-alternative leadership of the Alternative and Green Trade-Unionists / Independent Trade-Unionists (German abbreviation: AUGE/UG) has in a non-understandable barter agreed to this proposal which means more pressure on unemployed people and is therefore levelled against all employees!

The trade unions, already from the 80s on, neither have organized demonstrations for the people who have been made unemployed and poor by the economy nor let alone a social strike! Consequently, they have betrayed their own roots, their historical mission to overcome capitalism, a long time ago! As putative “social partners” they so turn to co-managers, if not overseers of the capital, who compel the employees to take up paid labour at all costs by means of structural violence and prevent a fundamental critical examination of the domination of state and capital based on lies and violence.

Human rights and the state under the rule of law recede into the far distance again

The Austrian Peoples’ Party and the Austrian Freedom Party have already shown with the reduction of the means-tested minimum income for refugees that they despise the human rights as well as the constitutional law (pertaining to equal treatment) and want to continue to undermine these by means of the imposition of an upper limit and the planned data communication by way of direct payments to lessors and energy companies under the key word “payments in kind”.

Through further proliferation of increasingly differing and for the most part very vaguely formulated state laws it’s getting increasingly more difficult for the people who are pushed into poverty to assert their right, because there will continue to be no legal literature and hardly a possibility of informing oneself. By stirring up envy and malevolence the Austrian Peoples’ Party and the Austrian Freedom Party obviously want to destroy the state under the rule of law to its very foundations and to assert their authoritarian and inhuman policy.

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