Johanniter in Austria pleased with referendum

Vienna, 29. January 2013

According to Mr Johannes Bucher, the president of Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe Austria, the vote of Austrians to maintain military conscription is not only motivated by security policy, but is also a decision in favour of community service. Mr Bucher stated: “The result of the referendum shows that community service is a vital element of the Austrian social security system. The efforts of community servants are valued highly.”

Mr Bucher also rejected the call for a shortened community service of 6 months. According to Bucher, two months of required preparation would be entirely disproportionate to the actual time in service.

However, this does not mean that the alternative “social year” model should be discarded. “In order to be able to provide an opportunity to women and other age groups to work for a year in the social care sector on a voluntary basis, we should discuss a complementary social year. The payment should be in accordance with civilian service remuneration”, Bucher further proposes.

Mr Bucher continued: "The social year model contains valuable approaches and is a good opportunity to increasing attractiveness and interest for jobs in the social and health sector. Furthermore, it conveys social skills and solidarity."
Moreover, Mr Bucher was particularly impressed by the high turnout at the ballot which he regards a sign for interest in political participation in Austria.

The Johanniter-Unfall-Austria have under 200 civil servants who make up for almost 20% of the entire Johanniter staff.