European Working Conditions Observatory (EWCO)
06 March 2014:
Women struggle to maintain work–life balance
(Portugal / Information update)
A study has looked at the implications for women in Portugal who want to combine their work with bringing up children. It looked at the daily effort of maintaining a work–life balance among a group of female shift workers in the food retail sector. The research was carried out via interviews with the workers and highlights the problems experienced by the women. It also looked at strategies adopted by women involved in shift work to manage their personal and family lives.
06 March 2014:
How a lack of workplace ‘fairness’ can cause depression
(Denmark / Information update)
New research in Denmark has looked at how a perceived lack of fairness in the workplace can impact on a worker’s well-being. The study suggests a work environment characterised by low ‘organisational justice’ – or fairness – is a risk factor for employees developing depression. Included in the survey were questions on how employers perceived the fairness of the decision-making process in the workplace, and whether managers were unbiased, truthful, kind and considerate.
03 March 2014:
High work intensity but greater working time flexibility
(Finland / Information update)
Since 1992, the quality of working life in Finland has been monitored from the perspective of employees by the Working Life Barometer. The survey provides an indication of past trends, the current situation and expected future trends. In 2012, almost half of the respondents felt the employment situation was getting worse and a third thought the performance of their employer was declining. Work intensity is considered to be high while working time flexibility has increased.
03 March 2014:
Personal relations at work no. 1 cause of stress
(Czech Republic / Information update)
Levels of work-related stress are high among Czech workers, according to an online survey by market research company GfK. The 2013 research revealed stress had increased particularly among managers and highly-qualified workers. Despite these increases, those surveyed said employers had not introduced measures to prevent stress in the workplace. Almost half of the interviewees said worries about ‘interpersonal relationships’ were a major cause of work-related stress.
20 February 2014:
Health matters in hiring and retaining personnel
(Netherlands / Information update)
Health is the most important issue when an employer is deciding whether to hire a worker, according to a new study from the Netherlands. The research looked at the results of a ‘vignette’ study on employer preferences when hiring or retaining personnel. It also showed that when an employer is deciding whether to retain an employee who is on a short-term contract, health problems or absence for other reasons are likely to be a deciding factor. However, excellent performance can compensate for ill-health.
07 February 2014:
Survey reveals public discontent about wage inequality
(Poland / Information update)
A public opinion survey in Poland shows there is discontent about wage inequality in the country. The survey, published in September 2013, reports that the majority of respondents consider the gap between the incomes of professional people and the lowest paid is far too great. Polish people want a flattening of incomes. They want to see the wages of the poorest paid workers to be raised significantly, and urge a lowering of the salaries of the country’s highest earners.
24 January 2014:
Pay and conditions of Commission members under scrutiny
(Lithuania / Information update)
A recent study investigated the pay and conditions of members of Lithuania’s Labour Disputes Commissions. Research was carried out in 2013 by the Lithuanian Social Research Centre into the work of people involved in the settlement of individual labour disputes. The findings of the survey revealed that the main issues regarding work organisation and the working conditions in the labour disputes commissions were the heavy workloads and low remuneration for work. Commission members have to juggle attending meetings with their normal employment.
20 January 2014:
Managers thrive on good working conditions
(Sweden / Information update)
Research in Sweden suggests that psychosocial working conditions can strongly influence how well a manager works. The study concludes that working conditions, health and the effectiveness of a manager’s leadership are closely related. It suggests a manager’s health and working conditions are often overlooked, and that training courses are not enough to promote good leadership. Leadership training has to be accompanied by a good working environment for managers to thrive.
20 January 2014:
Too few women in leadership positions across the EU
(EU Level / Information update)
A new report from the European Commission looks at the number of women in leadership positions in the European Union. While the Commission points to the evidence that more women are reaching top positions, it underlines the fact that more needs to be done to tackle a significant disparity across EU Member States. It says the under-representation of women in corporate decision-making represents a significant economic cost to companies and to the economy as a whole. Regulation at EU level may be the only way to solve the problem.
07 January 2014:
Food sector adapting to health and safety rules
(Romania / Information update)
A study has examined how Romanian companies and workers in the food sector have adapted to EU directives on occupational health and safety. It found that the overwhelming majority of businesses in the sector abide by EU legislation but there were a number of deficiencies in workers’ training. The research revealed that 43% of companies appointed employees with special responsibilities in work safety, 40% outsourced the role, and 32.7% assigned the responsibility to managers.