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UNEMPLOYMENT

Vienna’s Labour Market Service (AMS) abused daily by the city’s unemployed

Employees of Vienna's Labour Market Service (AMS) have reported that abuse and assault have become a daily occurence in their line of work. In 2016 alone, there were 750 individual reports of verbal assault experienced via their hotline or in person at one of the many AMS locations around the city.

Vienna's Labour Market Service (AMS) abused daily by the city's unemployed
Photo: Günta/Wikimedia
 
Statistically this rounds out to about three attacks per day, which allegedly tend to be brought on by missed appointments or sparked by the suspension of unemployment benefits. Yet, despite everything from rude e-mails to all-out bomb threats, those behind this public amenity still persist in their mission to facilitate unemployed individuals in finding their way back into the workforce. 
 
According to a recent interview with Radio Wien, AMS chief Petra Draxl stated, “it's our duty to calm people down and to deescalate, it goes with the territory.” AMS employees are even specifically trained for these types of situations. 
 
The organization works closely with the police, but only calls them in extreme cases. Any perpetrators who commit more than one offense are simply banned. Draxl says, “we've been operating under the same concept for years. There are security personnel at each of our locations, in all regional branch offices. We have a very sophisticated safety design.”
 
However, attempts at theft and burglary are still on the rise. On this note, Draxl stated, “it does bear repeating that there is nothing to steal. There is no cash to be found here [and] as it turned out, there was never really anything taken.”

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VIENNA

Why does Vienna’s waste department have a helicopter and a military plane?

Not every waste management department in the world gets a helicopter or military aircraft, but Austria's MA 48 isn't every waste management department. Here's why you may have seen the familiar orange colours on helicopters and military planes.

Why does Vienna's waste department have a helicopter and a military plane?

The Viennese municipal waste department, known as MA48, is undoubtedly a big part of daily life in the Austrian capital – and not only for practical reasons.

Every Viennese will be familiar with the department’s extensive public relations campaigns, from contests for choosing funny one-liners for its trash cans to weekend-long outdoor events showing kids (and grownups) the importance of the proper waste collection and circular economy.

READ ALSO: Hasta la mista, baby? How to vote for your favourite Vienna trash can joke

But some of these public relations expenses might be harder to swipe under the carpet as the City of Vienna Court of Audit shone a light on the high costs of some of these actions, according to the daily newspaper Der Standard.

Most impressively, the audit made by request of opposition party FPÖ showed high expenses, including hiring a military aircraft and a helicopter – quite uncommon for a municipal waste department.

The MA 48 justifies the expenses by saying the aircraft served to attract apprentices and for public relations.

The SPÖ party, which governs Vienna, said that the department achieved “a maximum effect with a minimum budget with its public relations work” and “the advertising measures served to educate citizens and thus protect the environment.”, according to a press release.

READ ALSO: Why Vienna is a haven for wild animals – and where you can find them

The apprentices during one of Ma 48’s events in Vienna (Copyright: Christian Houdek/PID)

Vienna’s audit court partially understands but still recommended some measures to improve transparency. The PR department of MA 48 will set up a cost centre to improve those issues, according to Der Standard.

The City Audit Office Committee will meet for its periodical review of public expenses on May 19th, when the subject should be further debated.

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