Publications by subject - Industrial relations - 2012
| || Work organisation and innovation: Annexes |
This document comprises two annexes to the report Work organisation and innovation. Annex 1: Summary of some major public policy initiatives related to innovations in HPWPs. Annex 2: Interview guides for human resources or lead managers, senior managers, line managers, employees representatives, and employees.
| || Work organisation and innovation - Executive summary |
Innovations in work organisation have the potential to optimise production processes in companies and improve employees’ overall experience of work. This report explores the links between innovations in work organisation – under the broader label of high performance work practices (HPWPs) – and the potential benefits for both employees and organisations. It draws on empirical evidence from case studies carried out in 13 Member States of the European Union where workplace innovations have resulted in positive outcomes. Read more in the report.
| || Work organisation and innovation |
Innovations in work organisation have the potential to optimise production processes in companies and improve employees’ overall experience of work. This report explores the links between innovations in work organisation – under the broader label of high performance work practices (HPWPs) – and the potential benefits for both employees and organisations. It draws on empirical evidence from case studies carried out in 13 Member States (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, UK) of the European Union where workplace innovations have resulted in positive outcomes. An executive summary and annexes are also available.
| || Industrial relations and working conditions developments in Europe 2011 |
This annual review describes the developments in industrial relations and working conditions in 2011 in the EU Member States and Norway, at both national and EU level, with a focus on the economic situation and responses to it. The report describes the current economic situation in EU Member States and highlights relevant political and legislative developments in individual countries. It describes labour market trends in Europe and developments in career and employment security, health and well-being at work, skills development and work–life balance. It also examines changes in the organisation and role of social partners, developments in collective bargaining (at cross-sectoral, sectoral and company levels), working time, pay developments, social dialogue developments, industrial conflicts and company restructuring in 2011. At European level, the report summarises the main events over the course of 2011, charting trends in European social policy, employment legislation and social dialogue.
| || Second European Company Survey 2009: Policy relevance and implications for future surveys |
This reports consists of: a presentation of the ECS 2009 together with a review of similar but national surveys as well as the use of EU-wide surveys more generally; the coverage and findings of the ECS in relation to current European Union policy objectives, notably those set out in Europe 2020; a discussion of secondary analyses undertaken by Eurofound researchers or on their behalf by outside researchers, and the results of independent research work undertaken using ECS 2009 data; a review of the relevant existing knowledge concerning the subjects to be addressed in the next European Company Survey (2013), namely new forms of work organisation and partnership, high-performance work systems, best practice human resource management techniques, and workplace innovation and flexibility. A final section summarises the conclusions of the report and offers recommendations for the future.
| || Role of social partners in addressing the global economic crisis (Working paper) |
This working paper examines how social dialogue has addressed the impact of the crisis. In order to make reasonable comparisons between countries as diverse as Brazil, China, Japan and the USA it is necessary to take into account the institutional, political, economic and social backgrounds. However, the purpose of this short paper was not to provide a profile of the countries included but rather to identify practices employed by the social partners in dealing with some of the great challenges caused by the crisis.
| || Wages and working conditions in the crisis - Executive summary |
The economic and financial crisis of 2008–2010 has impacted on pay in most EU Member States leading to wage deceleration, pay freezes and sometimes pay cuts. The crisis hit vulnerable groups (low-skilled, young, migrants) particularly hard. Data from five key sectors (manufacturing, construction, accommodation and food services, financial services, public administration) reveal more crisis effects on employment than on wages. Cuts in low-paid and temporary jobs, or reductions in their hours, tended to be the first measure adopted while the ‘wage cushion’ often seen in higher-ranking jobs allowed cost savings through cuts in bonuses and other rewards. Cutting wages is also seen as detrimental to worker motivation and retention. Most responses taken were temporary with few trade-offs at company level between wages and other elements of the employment relationship. Read more in the report.
| || Flexicurity: Actions at Company Level |
The aim of flexicurity is to improve employment opportunities for workers, while at the same time increasing flexibility, enabling organisations to adapt their operations and employment levels to business needs. The past few years have, however, been particularly challenging for European labour markets: the recent financial crisis and recession have had an inevitable negative impact on EU labour markets and unemployment levels. This has called into question the effectiveness of the flexicurity strategy in terms of supporting vulnerable workers. Eurofound research in six EU Member States analysed company initiatives targeting young workers, older workers and women. An executive summary is available.
| || Social dialogue in times of global economic crisis |
Social dialogue is one of the cornerstones of social Europe and involves employers, workers and their representatives, and, in tripartite structures, also public authorities in the discussions and negotiations which shape social policy and industrial relations. This study seeks to establish how far Member States were willing or able to use social dialogue as a tool to mitigate the effects of the financial downturn in the wake of the profound global economic crisis which began in autumn 2008. It analyses where it was used, how effective it was and also identifies the factors that could make it more or less likely that the social partners would be involved in efforts to respond to the crisis. An executive summary is available.
| || Social dialogue in times of global economic crisis - Executive summary |
This study maps, examines and assesses the various responses of social dialogue to the global economic crisis throughout Europe, analysing: the role that social dialogue has played to cushion the impact, and overcome the negative effects, of the crisis; the outcomes of social dialogue in terms of the measures negotiated, and agreed by the social partners, at the various levels of the European industrial relations system; and the effectiveness and sustainability of the outcomes of social dialogue in response to the crisis. Read more in the report.
| || Bosnia and Herzegovina: Industrial relations profile |
Following the reconstruction of its war-devastated economy, the country from 2000 embarked on the road of economic transformation. This process included privatisation of state-owned enterprises and private sector development. Relations between labour and capital are very strained, which has slowed the development of industrial democracy. Trade union activities are focused on maintaining the achieved level of rights, since there is a strong pressure to reduce these rights. Employee involvement in improving working conditions and in enterprise decisions that affect their working conditions is limited. Workers assert their rights most often through strikes, which are very frequent.
| || Employment and industrial relations in the railways sector - Executive summary |
The European railways sector has witnessed a steady decline over the past 30 years, both in terms of infrastructure availability and transport capacity. The sector has also undergone intense restructuring as a result of EU legislation to encourage competition. Despite these reforms, in most countries the sector maintains its quasi-monopolistic structure with one operator – normally still fully state-owned. Read more in the report.
| || Croatia: Industrial relations profile |
Industrial relations in Croatia are essentially regulated by statute law while collective bargaining is of limited importance in spite of a notable coverage rate and trade union density. A widely used extension mechanism and well established bargaining in the public sector explains the high coverage rate of collective agreements, whereas autonomous bilateral dialogue is relatively weak. The state plays an important role in regulating labour relations, as well as in setting the economic and social policy. Social partners are, however, included in the decision-making process through the Economic and Social Council, a tripartite counselling body.
| || Kosovo: Industrial relations profile |
In 2010 the Kosovo legislative framework was changed by the introduction of one of the core laws in terms of labour relations – the Labour Law. This piece of legislation is considered to be one of the biggest achievements in post-1999 Kosovo in terms of labour relations as for the first time it codifies employer–employee relations and sets forth the inalienable rights of workers. While there are no accurate and reliable data on the impact that this law has had on the improvement of the situation of workers, or the level of implementation it has assumed, the law is considered to be a major milestone for the development of labour relations in Kosovo. Other pieces of legislation relating to social security and protection as well as industrial relations are expected to be enacted in the near future. A law on syndical organisation is also expected to be passed in the near future, hence opening doors for the development of trade unions in the private sector.
| || Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM): Industrial relations profile |
From the beginning of the political and economic transition, the legal context has been rather favourable to industrial relations. In the constitution of 1991, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was proclaimed as a social state with high level of provision of social and economic rights, including the right of labour to be organised for the promotion of its interests. Strikes and collective bargaining became constitutional categories and the constitution created very flexible provision for the participation of the labour in management of firms. The constitution states that ‘ownership and labour form the basis for management and sharing in decision-making’. These basic values promoted in the constitution were operationalised in many laws, the pillar of which is the Labour Code. In the process of harmonisation of this regulation with EU standards many laws were revisited, and many new ones created. Some analysts highlight two tendencies in this process of revision. One of these tendencies is the significant enlargement of the Labour Code with many new provisions concerning discrimination, collective bargaining, trade unions and strikes.
| || Montenegro: Industrial relations profile |
In the context of the EU accession process, Montenegro has been working on harmonising its legal framework with the 'acquis communautaire', which resulted in a host of new laws and regulations, not least in the areas of employment and working conditions. In July 2008 the Montenegrin parliament passed a new Labour Code, which has since been criticised by both employers and trade unions and is currently under revision. The year 2010 saw a renewed flurry of legal activity with regard to labour issues. Parliament passed a new law on voluntary work and unemployment insurance and adopted amendments to the laws on health and safety at work and vocational education. Among the most important provisions with regard to industrial relations is a new law on the representativeness of trade unions.
| || Serbia: Industrial relations profile |
For Serbia the first decade of the twenty-first century, following the change to a democratic regime in October 2000, was marked by the transition to a market economy, privatisation and restructuring. Industrial relations are regulated by the comprehensive body of labour legislation, the pillar of which is the Labour Code, adopted in 2005. Almost the entire body of labour legislation has been rewritten since 2001 in order to support the transition to a market economy, but also with a view to complying with the relevant requirements and regulations of European Union and standards of the International Labour Organization.
| || Employment and industrial relations in the hotels and restaurants sector - Executive summary |
This report describes current working conditions in the Horeca sector, highlighting the most relevant issues, outlining industrial relations structures and looking at the contribution of the social partners to improving the quality of work and sustainability of the industry. The report is based on contributions from the European Relations Observatory (EIRO) network of correspondents in the EU 27 countries and Norway.
| || Workplace social dialogue in Europe: An analysis of the European Company Survey 2009 |
Around one third (34%) of workplaces with 10 or more employees have a trade union or works council body in place. Considerable variation exists between countries: the rate is above 55% in Denmark, Sweden and Finland but below 20% in countries such as Turkey, Greece and Portugal. Substantial variations also exist depending on industry sector and workplace size. Many of these characteristics are related to the presence or absence of a trade union or works council. Workplace representation is more prevalent in countries where national or sectoral bargaining dominates. It is also higher in countries with more extensive levels of legislative support for workplace representation. An executive summary is available.
| || Workplace social dialogue in Europe: An analysis of the European Company Survey 2009 - Executive summary |
How does social dialogue function in practice, what forms of representation exist and how well do they function? Eurofound’s 2009 European Company Survey (ECS) provides rich data from 30 countries to explore these questions. This report takes ECS and other data sources and looks at factors that influence the path social dialogue takes in a company, in particular regarding works councils and trade unions; company size, company age, the nature of the product or service delivered, employer choices and the composition of the workforce are all relevant factors. The larger framework also has an impact, for example how much national governments intervene in social dialogue and at what level negotiations take place. Read more in the report.
| || Flexicurity – Theory or practice? |
The concept of flexicurity – a strategy to enhance flexibility and security in the labour market at the same time – gained new momentum with the advent of the economic crisis. Public and policy discussions are now dealing with the question of whether flexicurity also works during times of economic crisis, or indeed, if it even can be a way out of the recession.
| || Variable pay and employment relations |
Increased internationalisation of competition has created pressure from employers for flexibility or variation in pay. This affects both the process of wage regulation, particularly through collective bargaining, and pay outcomes. This fact sheet forms part of the Eurofound resource pack 'Unleashing the potential – Flexibility in European companies'. The pack explores the flexibility strategies used at national and company level and their impact on employees.
| || Flexibility in European companies |
Companies need flexibility to respond to changing consumer demand, or to a new regulatory or competitive environment. This can often be controversial, especially when it involves flexibility in relation to such matters as pay, working time arrangements, contractual status and the organisation of work. This fact sheet forms part of the Eurofound resource pack 'Unleashing the potential – Flexibility in European companies'. The pack explores the flexibility strategies used at national and company level and their impact on employees.
| || Flexibility practices in companies |
Each company has their own reasons for applying a particular organisation of work and practices. Flexibility practices are usually not single measures but a package which suits the company, and which is placed into a national (and European) context and social infrastructure, as well as in national/sectoral traditions of social dialogue. This fact sheet forms part of the Eurofound resource pack 'Unleashing the potential – Flexibility in European companies'. The pack explores the flexibility strategies used at national and company level and their impact on employees.
| || Flexibility in recession |
Since the start of the recession in 2008, European enterprises have faced a significant decrease in demand that has required the development of new strategies to survive the crisis and return to growth. This fact sheet forms part of the Eurofound resource pack 'Unleashing the potential – Flexibility in European companies'. The pack explores the flexibility strategies used at national and company level and their impact on employees.
| || Working time flexibility |
Working time flexibility is the most widespread form of flexibility practice. Various types of working time flexibility practices are being used in European companies. This fact sheet forms part of the Eurofound resource pack 'Unleashing the potential – Flexibility in European companies'. The pack explores the flexibility strategies used at national and company level and their impact on employees.
| || Employment and industrial relations in the agricultural and rural contractor (ARC) sector - Executive summary |
Agricultural and rural contractors (ARCs) play a vital role in the European agricultural sector. Rapid changes in recent decades and the process of professionalisation and mechanisation in agriculture have resulted in a wide range of new production methods and an increased relevance of service providers. Consequently, ARCs have developed as a new profession, specialising in consulting and mechanised work. Read more in the report.
| || Employment and industrial relations in the agricultural and rural contractor (ARC) sector |
This study shows the main characteristics and specifics of the ARC sector in four European countries. The overall picture shows that the activities of contractors go beyond the agricultural and forestry sectors, into construction services or services to public authorities. The project also shows that special requirements for health and safety, education and training arise in this sector, due to the high degree of mechanisation and the use of high-tech equipment. At national level, the study shows that most of the time representation and social dialogue is not ARC-sector-specific. The ARC sector is predominantly covered by the social partner organisations of the agricultural industry. Collective agreements often overlap with the general agricultural sector, or they apply at company level. An executive summary is available.
| || Public measures to support self-employment and job creation in one-person and micro enterprises - Executive summary |
The aim of this study is to provide an update on recent policies which have been initiated by governments and social partners in an effort to stimulate and support job creation in self-employment and one-person and micro enterprises. The study focuses particularly on measures initiated since 2008 that have been driven, adapted or changed by the economic crisis. It also looks at ‘good practice’ measures used in different countries that can successfully result in job creation. Read more in the report.
| || Recession and social dialogue in the banking sector: a European perspective - Executive summary |
The worldwide banking system is at the heart of the greatest economic crisis for at least 70 years. The crisis has strongly affected a sector that had already experienced significant changes in the preceding 30 years. Structural changes in the world economy, caused by globalisation processes and technological development, transformed the banking system internationally. Read more in the report.
| || Recession and social dialogue in the banking sector: a European perspective |
The worldwide banking system is at the heart of the greatest economic crisis for at least 70 years. The crisis has strongly affected a sector that had already experienced significant changes in the preceding 30 years. Structural changes in the world economy, caused by globalisation processes and technological development, transformed the banking system internationally. On top of these global developments, the European banking system faced challenges caused by the European integration process and the creation of the European Single Market. An executive summary is available.