Research - Working life

Barbara Gerstenberger is Head of the Working Life unit at Eurofound. She joined Eurofound in September 2001 as a research manager in the then newly established European Monitoring Centre on Change (EMCC). In October 2007, she moved to Eurofound’s Information and Communication Unit as Head of Communication Products, before being appointed Coordinator in the Directorate in March 2011. Previously, she worked as senior research officer in the European Metalworkers' Federation in Brussels (1993–2001) and was seconded to work in the European Commission’s DG EMPL for a year in 1999–2000. A graduate in political science from Hamburg University, she completed a Master’s Degree in Public Administration at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

David Foden is Adviser, Industrial Relations, attached to the Working life unit at Eurofound. He is responsible for coordinating work on industrial relations across the organisation. He worked from 1979 to 1985 in the Economic Department of the Trades Union Congress in the UK. In 1985, he moved to the European Trade Union Institute in Brussels as research officer and then coordinator of the research unit on employment and labour market policies and social protection. He joined Eurofound in 2002. As research manager (industrial relations and, subsequently, surveys and monitoring), he was responsible for the European Company Survey and for projects on European Works Councils, and was involved in managing the European Industrial Relations Observatory (now part of EurWORK). He was Head of the Observatories unit until 2011, and from 2012–2016 was Head of the Working Conditions and Industrial Relations unit. He holds BA and MA degrees from Cambridge University, where he studied economics.

Agnès Parent-Thirion is senior research manager in the Working Life unit at Eurofound, tasked with the planning, development and implementation of working conditions research projects, in particular the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) and its analyses. Her research interests include working conditions, job quality, the monitoring of working conditions, work organisation, gender, the future of work and time. She has been working in the area of European comparative surveys for more than a decade, in all aspects including design, questionnaire development, fieldwork, quality control and analysis. She is a graduate in economics and management from Paris IX Dauphine and Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne. Before joining Eurofound, she worked for a number of years in the European Commission.

Christian Welz is a senior research manager in the Working Life unit at Eurofound. He manages projects and develops expertise and quality of research in the field of industrial relations. He is in charge of the European Industrial Relations Dictionary and a number of industrial relations governance projects (European Social Dialogue, articulation between the EU and national levels of social dialogue, mapping key dimensions of industrial relations). Prior to joining Eurofound, he was Deputy Director of a French-German training institute for civil servants, managed the EU unit of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Augsburg and was professor of EU law at the Universities of Applied Sciences in Kehl and Offenburg. He studied law at the Universities of Bonn, Freiburg, Aix-en-Provence and Strasbourg and holds a PhD from the University of Nijmegen. He was appointed honorary professor at the University of Kehl in 2017.

Isabella Biletta is a senior research manager in the Working Life unit at Eurofound, responsible for several research projects addressing both industrial relations and working conditions trends and developments in Europe. Her main research areas are undeclared work, atypical and fraudulent forms of work, flexicurity, developments in social partner organisations, working conditions and industrial relations in central public administration. She participates in various analyses of the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) data, analysing for example gender and employment security issues. A graduate in international private and public law, she was previously a lecturer at the law department of Nanterre University (Paris X). Also a graduate of the French National School of Administration and a former French civil servant, she has extensive experience in labour and employment policies.

Christine Aumayr-Pintar is a research manager in the Working Life unit at Eurofound. She manages the quarterly reporting from the European Observatory of Working Life (EurWORK) and its associated products, in cooperation with Eurofound’s European network of European correspondents. She also works in the areas of pay and industrial relations and contributes to sectoral representativeness studies. Before joining Eurofound in 2009, she worked as a researcher in labour markets and regional economics at Joanneum Research, Austria. She studied economics in Graz, Vienna and Jönköping and holds a Master’s Degree and a PhD in Economics.


Peter Kerckhofs is a research manager in the Working Life unit at Eurofound and is responsible for representativeness studies. He is currently building a European Social Partner Database and developing representativeness studies into a tool for capacity building. He also works on industrial relations projects related to European Works Councils and European Sectoral Social Dialogue. Before Joining Eurofound, he worked as a researcher for ETUI and UCL, as a political secretary for EMCEF and was scientific coordinator of the PhD School of the social sciences faculty of KU Leuven. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from KUL and one in International Relations from UCL, and has a PhD in Industrial Relations from the University of Manchester. 

Jorge Cabrita is a research manager in the Working Life unit at Eurofound. He is responsible for formulating, coordinating and managing European-wide studies, surveys and publications, and promoting the dissemination of findings through the participation in debates, conferences, seminars and workshops in the thematic areas of working conditions and industrial relations. He has been responsible for various activities related to Eurofound’s observatories on working conditions and industrial relations. Research areas have included absenteeism from work, the working poor, work-related stress, young workers during the crisis, industrial relations and working conditions in central public administration and gender issues in social partner organisations. He contributed to the analysis of the sixth European Working Conditions Survey data and is currently responsible for research on working time patterns for sustainable work, as well as working conditions and workers’ health. He holds a BSc in Economics and an MSc in Economic Sociology from the Lisbon School of Economics.

Tina Weber is a research manager sharing her time between the Employment and Working Life units at Eurofound. Her research focuses on labour market change, restructuring and working conditions. Prior to joining Eurofound in March 2019, Tina worked as a senior researcher at the research and consulting services company ICF with a focus on comparative studies, evaluations and impact assessments in the fields of labour law, labour market policies, gender equality and industrial relations. Tina holds a PhD in Political Sciences from the University of Edinburgh.


Oscar Vargas Llave is a research officer in the Working Life unit at Eurofound and manages projects on working conditions and related policies. He specialises in topics related to the organisation of working time, health and well-being, and ageing issues. He is also interested in social and occupational inequalities. Current activities include research related to digitalisation and working conditions. Before joining Eurofound in December 2009, he worked as project coordinator in the field of health and safety and was responsible for the Professional Card Scheme for the Construction Sector in Spain at the non-profit Fundación Laboral de la Construcción in Madrid. He has a background in industrial sociology (Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca), and also holds a Diploma in Social Science Research Methods from the University of Cardiff and a Master’s Degree on Health and Safety from the Autonomous University of Madrid.

Ricardo Rodriguez Contreras is a research officer in the Working Life unit at Eurofound and focuses on comparative industrial relations, social dialogue and collective bargaining. He is also involved in research in the fields of restructuring and the labour market, as well as the implications of technology and digital change in employment relations. Prior to joining Eurofound in 2014, he worked as a consultant for the European Commission and the European Parliament carrying out studies at EU level assessing the implementation of social legislation throughout the EU, the EEA and the candidate countries. For years, he performed training activities for multinational companies and European Works Councils in the area of comparative industrial relations and labour legislation in the EU. He has also worked for the Inter-American Development Bank and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration in some countries of Latin America. He holds a BSc in Law from the Complutense University in Madrid.

Matthias Rasche is a data officer in the Working Life unit at Eurofound, responsible for the collection, analysis and provision of work-related statistics. He is currently working on the maintenance and further development of data-related online resources. Prior to joining Eurofound in 2018, he worked as a Research Analyst in the Directorate General Statistics at the European Central Bank (ECB). He studied international business and business economics in Germany and the UK.


Catherine Cerf is workflow officer in the Working Life unit at Eurofound. Her activities are mostly focused around projects for EurWORK and for representativeness studies. As part of this role, she monitors the input and workflow of deliverables from Eurofound’s network of European correspondents, as well as other content-related tasks in those two projects. Prior to joining Eurofound in 1990, she worked in the private and public sectors in France. She has worked in several departments within Eurofound over the years. Besides her administrative qualifications, she later trained in editing, graduated in psychology and completed a Master's Degree in Forensic Psychology.


Sophia MacGoris is survey officer based in the Working Life unit at Eurofound, although she works on all three of Eurofound's surveys. Having been involved in cross-national surveys for many years, she uses her experience and her transversal role to ensure a continuity of learning and quality assurance to the highest level during the entire survey process. She also acts as a facilitator for the Foundation Seminar Series. Prior to joining Eurofound in 1996, she worked for several years in the European Commission in Brussels in the area of science, research and development. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Social Science specialising in Social Policy.


Franz Eiffe is a research officer in the Working Life unit at Eurofound. He is involved in projects on sustainable work, quantitative analyses and upward convergence in the EU, as well as in the preparation of the fourth European Company Survey. Before joining Eurofound in 2016, he was Head of Unit ‘Analysis’ at Statistics Austria in Vienna and project leader of ‘How is Austria? Measuring wealth and progress beyond GDP’. He holds a PhD in Economics from Vienna University of Economics (WU), where he also worked as research associate from 2005 to 2009 and lecturer until 2016.


Mathijn Wilkens is a research officer in the Working Life unit at Eurofound. He is mostly responsible for statistical analysis on the European Working Conditions Survey. After graduating in Economics and Social Sciences from Utrecht University in 2009, he has worked as a researcher in labour and social policy issues at Ecorys in the Netherlands. He joined the CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis in 2012 to do research on income distributions and income taxation. After three years, he moved to the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment before joining Eurofound in 2015.


Manuel Gómez Martín is an administrative assistant in the Working Life unit. He is mainly involved in the industrial relations area, and specifically organises procurement and meetings within related projects. He has previously worked for DG JRC in the European Commission and for private companies in London and Spain.



Victoria Rahm is an administrative assistant in the Working Life unit. She is mainly involved in the area of working conditions and sustainable work, and specifically organises procurement and meetings within related projects. She has previously worked for a management consultancy company in Dublin and the Nordic Council of Ministers in Copenhagen.


Useful? Interesting? Tell us what you think. Hide comments

Add new comment