Eurofound News January 2009
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News in pictures
On 1–4 December, Eurofound hosted its ‘Living and Working in Europe’ exhibition in the European Parliament building in Brussels. The exhibition was co-sponsored by Stephen Hughes MEP (pictured right, talking with Eurofound’s Director Jorma Karppinen) and Ria-Oomen Ruijten MEP.
News in brief
In mid-January, fieldwork begins for the European Company Survey 2009 (ECS 2009). The ECS 2009 is the second large-scale organisational survey conducted by Eurofound. It will be carried out in companies in 30 countries – the 27 EU Member States, Croatia, Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). The survey will look at company policies and practices across Europe. It will also analyse company practices and their impact, focusing in particular on social dialogue. German company TNS Infratest Sozialforschung, in cooperation with a group of experts and national fieldwork institutes, will be responsible for conducting the survey. Data collection will continue over the first quarter of 2009 and the first results are due to be published in autumn 2009.
More information on the new survey
While a majority of the relocations of business from the EU15 to lower-cost new Member States (NMS) appear to be successful in terms of improving competitiveness, in some cases lower-cost Asian locations can still win out. A recently published report by Eurofound’s European Restructuring Monitor (ERM), ERM case studies in Europe: the employment impact, looks in detail at 25 cases of business relocations between Member States, including the extent of consultation with the workforce, reactions from trade unions, and the outcomes in terms of employment of the affected workforce. The report reveals that some locations in the NMS that initially appeared attractive in terms of their low wage costs proved to be otherwise over time, as wages rose following accession to the EU.
Eurofound, in collaboration with its sister agency CEDEFOP (European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training), is jointly organising a seminar on 9–10 February on ‘The role of social partners in Continuing Vocational Training (CVT) in Europe: Reviewing practices and sharing challenges’. The seminar, to be held in CEDEFOP’s headquarters in Thessaloniki, Greece, will disseminate the results of a joint study between the two agencies, which looks at the contribution of collective bargaining to the development of CVT in Europe. Working sessions will focus on the current role of social partners and the challenges for continuing training provision in Europe. The event will also provide a forum for discussion among the social partners, a key topic being current features of CVT policies in relation to industrial relations models.
More information is available on the seminar
While in some EU15 countries agency workers are organised in unions, in most Member States a combination of high turnover and minimal trade union membership means that agency workers face a double representation gap in the both the employing company and the agency firm. A new report from Eurofound, Temporary agency work and collective bargaining in the EU, reviews the use of temporary agency work (TAW) in the EU, and examines its regulation through legislation and through collective bargaining. It finds that almost all Member States have sought ways to reconcile employment protection for workers with the greater flexibility that TAW offers to employers – either by legislation, collective bargaining, or a combination of the two. The report also reviews arrangements for social dialogue and collective bargaining in determining length of assignments, the use of temporary agency workers in strikes and in determining equality of treatment in pay, training and other conditions of employment.
Download the report