Le petit flambeau

L'Autriche vue par un universitaire français…

Austria’s wealth, Austria’s exploitation of its neighbouring countries

A demand of the Austrian Green Party: a minimum of 7,50 € per hour

( ci-dessous un résumé en français)

I recently spoke with a young Slovakian woman who was selling Austrian strawberries in a pedestrian zone close to my place. She spends 8 to 10 hours a day on her feet selling only fresh strawberries and a few jars of jam. As she seemed to be quite bored, I decided to strike up a conversation with her. I then greeted her in her mother toungue, at which point she began to speak quite openly with regards to her working conditions. It turns out that she is paid a mere 3 € an hour. She the went on to say: « I know it’s not a lot for you in Austria but for us in Slovakia it’s ok. » She sold the strawberries for 2,90 € per 500g (4,90 €/kg), which means that in an hour, she’s paid the equivalent of 500g strawberries.

The minimum wage in Austria is defined in the different fields of employment by collective agreements. Since 2009 a minimum wage of 1,000 Euros per month has been implemented (gross for 40 hours per week). This woman earns only 540 € per month (probably illegally, meaning gross  for net). In fact, human trafficking is a prevalent issue in Austria. Agencies are advertising in countries like Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, making false promises of a better life in Austria. The women of these poorer countries, who cannot support their families, pay large sums of money to get these jobs. Upon their arrival in the Alpine Republic, the mafia-like agencies often take their passport. They then have to work as modern slaves. Even in cases where they are still free to leave at any time, the agencies take about 7% of all their revenues. Last year (8 Nov. 2010), the weekly profil reported about the case of Katharina, a Slovakian woman who was working in Austria. From 5am to 11pm, seven days a week, she was caring care of an elderly woman, as well as doing all the domestic work. During her 6 hour break, she slept in a shack at the end of the garden which was not even heated. For this, she received only 250 € a week (the 5000 to 7000 exploited Slovakian women working in home care usually work in two-week shifts). Is there any link between Austria’s wealth and the exploitation of its neighbouring countries ?


Une jeune Slovaque qui vendait des fraises près de chez moi m’a raconté qu’elle était payée 3€ de l’heure. Elle reste debout pendant 8 à 10h. Pour elle, le tarif est correct, mais elle est bien consciente qu’en Autriche, ce n’est pas grand chose. Dans le domaine de l’agriculture ou des soins aux personnes âgées, il y a de véritables trafics avec les femmes venant des pays de l’Est. Le film Francesca de Bobby Paunescu abordait ce sujet (Roumanie/Italie). Certains cas se rapprochent de l’esclavage moderne, l’hebdomadaire profil a ainsi révélé qu’une Slovaque travaillant de 5h à 23h auprès d’une femme âgée, sept jours sur sept, dormait dans un cabane non chauffée, au fond du jardin. La question que je pose est y a-t-il un lien entre la richesse de l’Autriche et l’exploitation des travailleurs issus des pays voisins ?

Blaise Gauquelin a consacré un sujet pour RFI au cas des soins aux personnes âgées.

Sur ce blog, voir aussi Peu de chômage, certes, mais…

6 juin 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

Un commentaire »

  1. Received by a friend under FB: sure Austria’s wealth is the issue, most Austrian macjobbers don’t get paid well. the word is umverteilungsblockade. a neverending story of political cowardness that results in fatal injustice especially for informal workers as possible your acquaintance of today.

    Commentaire par segalavienne | 14 juin 2011 | Réponse

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