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Absolute turquoise majority in the public service expanded

Vienna - The Christian trade unionist faction (FCG), already by an absolute majority the strongest force in the public service staff representation, was able to gain further strength in the elections on Wednesday and Thursday this week. With 53.79 percent and a slight gain of 0.75 percentage points, chairman Norbert Schnedl is the clear winner.

Connection to Fritz Neugebauer

Schnedl began his career as a gendarme in Lower Austria, studying on the side (and very successfully), which gave him the chance of an academic career in the Federal Chancellery. After 17 years in executive service, he moved to the service law section in 1996 and was entrusted with administrative reform agendas. 20 years later, in October 2016, he was elected to succeed Fritz Neugebauer at the head of the Public Service Union (GÖD). The 2019 staff representation election was the first in which the 59-year-old had to prove himself nationwide as the top candidate for FCG.

Around 1,200 service committees and around 180 specialist committees at the level of subordinate service authorities and 56 central committees as the highest organs at departmental level were elected this year.

Biggest gains for the Greens

Nationwide, not only the Christian trade unionists won, but also the UGÖD, in which the Greens are anchored. This faction was able to gain the most: The UGÖD got 11.98 percent and thus an increase of 1.22 percentage points. Top man Gary Fuchsbauer was not entirely satisfied: He personally would have liked a better result with the teachers.

Schnedl, on the other hand, was able to score points with "his" police officers: In Lower Austria the police staff representatives represent 5,246 employees - and they gave five of the eight FCG mandates with top candidate Hannes Luef, who not only received an absolute turquoise majority of the votes (55.1 percent) but also has a free hand in representation.

Defeat in freedom

A strong result could be achieved by the turquoise "comradeship of the executive" especially in Schwechat: There the service committee, which was previously headed by the liberal list AUF, was now taken over by an FCG majority. Nationwide, too, the Freedom Party suffered a defeat: Overall there was a minus of 0.5 percentage points - the UP now holds 6.75 percent.

On the evening of the election, the UP top candidate Werner Herbert referred to the national political component that had had an impact.

Social Democrats lose

The social democratic trade unionists saw it in a similar way: Hannes Gruber, chairman of the parliamentary group of social democratic trade unionists (FSG), like Schnedl, was the top candidate for the first time. Gruber did not want to use the SPÖ turbulence as an excuse, but "that was certainly not beneficial," he said. The result of 25.3 percent and a minus of more than one percentage point is "quite okay" in view of this. (Conrad Seidl, November 29, 2019)