Paritätische Kommission, the parity commission for wages and prices, was established in 1957 as a temporary instrument of cooperation between employees' and employers' associations. Gradually it became the main institution of the Social Partnership. The plenary meeting of the paritätische Kommission includes the Federal Chancellor, three federal ministers, the presidents of the four interest groups (Chamber of Labour, ÖGB - Austrian Federation of Trade Unions, Economic Chamber, Chamber of Agriculture), their deputies and some civil servants. Formal decisions are made at these meetings, but only the four interest groups are entitled to vote. Decisions are prepared by the wage and price sub-committee and in the advisory board for economic and social affairs.
Structural features of the paritätische Kommission include parity of the interest groups involved, unanimity, in camera meetings and the informal character of relations. The paritätische Kommission is not based on any legislative provisions but on consensus between the parties involved. Currently increasing internationalisation (EU), changes in the party system and the emphasis on new political issues (e.g. environmental considerations) are tending to reduce the flexibility of the social partners in their work.