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      Open letter to AMS Chairman Johannes Kopf:
      Get active against record unemployment rather than fuel the sentiment against unemployed people!

      Wien/Graz/Braunau, 2.4.2015

      Dear Mr. Johannes Kopf,

      You seem to have way too much time for interviews, in which you chat about god and the world without contributing anything essential toward solving the fundamental economic- and labour market crisis that exists ever since the turn of the century and expresses itself with ever new record numbers of unemployed people (1).

      At the moment some 20 work seeking people are registered for each available position. What makes you think that unemployed people are caught in an “inactivity trap” because of Unemployment Assistance, which requires the gradual lowering of the Unemployment Assistance?

      It might have escaped your attention that the Unemployment Assistance is an INSURANCE BENEFIT and according to the constitutional court even asset based right (2). The blue-black coalition under Wolfgang Schüssel, whom you owe your position of AMS chairman, has abolished the valorization (value adjustment) of the unemployment assistance in the year 2000 already, which leads to a real decrease year after year due to inflation.

      If you state “a couple with three small children gets tested minimum income and family subsidy of 1800 Euro each month. This much the man would never earn if he went working” you must have missed the development in the past 50 years. The old, patriarchal ideology of the man as the sole earner of the family is long overtaken, as nowadays – especially thanks to record unemployment – almost nobody earns sufficient through work by himself to maintain the whole family.

      Based on what empirical study do you assume that sole parents in general do not work because they misuse their right of a minimum availability of 16 hours per week (rather than 20 hours per week)? A woman received in the year 2013 in average 633 Euro per month unemployment assistance! Swap with a single parent and try to survive with the unemployment assistance!

      Even the minister of social affairs Rudolf Hundstorfer (3) admits that unemployment will rise in the coming years, thus your suggestions aim at punishing the victims of a failed, neoliberal economic policy again and to harm by sheer arbitrariness and excert even more pressure on all people to accept even worse conditions of work!

      According to the ILO-Convention 122 “Agreement on Employment Policy" (4) published by federal law and referenced in the Labour Market Service Code it is a legal aim of the labour market policy that a full and mostly productive work is available for all people that are seeking work and that the wage is sufficient not only for maintaining the standard of living but to also raise it. To fulfill the “human right to freely choose work” Austria is committed by 4 additional international Conventions.

      Since under your leadership the AMS is getting further away from the target prescribed by law, it appears that it is you that sits comfortably in the “Inactivity Trap”, that’s why it would be appropriate to lower YOUR wage.

      We demand from you to lay open your income that comes from the insurance community and is estimated more than 7000 Euro gross per month [it seems we were wrong, it is likely to be around 16,000 Euro gross!!!) and to put together an activation plan, in order to deliver the performance prescribed by law to us, who have contributed to the unemployment insurance for decades! As your actual employer we would otherwise have to separate!

      With activating regards

      The interviews of Johannes Kopf that initiated the open letter

      Further Interviews with Mr. Johannes Kopf in which he fuels sentiments against unemployed in a similar way (small selection):

      See also: Press release (2nd April 2015)

      1 Unemployment rate of March clearly above last year’s rate (AMS, 1.4.2015)

      2 Judgement of the Verfassungsgerichtshof vom 11.3.1998

      3 Hundstorfer predicts difficult times (Die Presse, 22.2.2015)

      4 Artikel 1, ILO Convention 122 " Agreement on Employment Policy ", BGBl 355/1972