World Day for Decent Work: 7 October 2008

wddw logoThe World Day for Decent Work is organised by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and is held on 7 October 2008. On this occasion, Eurofound has put together a summary of some of its recent publications on working conditions, quality of work and employment, and equal opportunities.

Pay developments - 2007
The explicit pay terms of the collective agreements and minimum wage laws are presumably gender neutral – they do not provide for differing pay rates or increases for women and men (to do so would, of course, breach EU and national legislation on equal pay). However, it remains the case that women in all the countries examined (EU27 and Norway) in this research earn, on average, lower wages than men.

Annual review of working conditions in the EU 2007–2008
Quality of work and employment is a key priority in the European Union. This fifth annual review of working conditions in the EU examines a range of issues and challenges related to working life and the workplace.

Working time developments - 2007
This annual update provides an overview of the duration of working time in the European Union and Norway in 2007, based on contributions from the European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO) national centres.

Fourth European Working Conditions Survey
New data from the Fourth European Working Conditions Survey provides a unique insight into the views of around 30,000 workers in 31 countries on a wide range of issues including work organisation, working time, equal opportunities, training, health & safety and job satisfaction.

High job satisfaction but insecurity about pay and retirement
Based on data obtained from the Austrian Working Climate Survey, this report examines aspects of job satisfaction and assesses people’s feelings of security or insecurity in relation to the future. The report also examines aspects of workload strain, such as time pressure, with women reporting lower levels of work strain than men with regard to all aspects of working conditions.

Work environment continues to improve
In 2006, Statistics Norway conducted the sixth Level of Living Survey: Working Conditions, which outlines the general situation of workers and workplaces in Norway and charts trends in working conditions. The survey results indicate that levels of exposure to physical risk factors are generally low, although the proportion of workers experiencing repetitive movements at work has increased. The findings also reveal that employees have high levels of job demands and job control, and good opportunities for professional development.

Second Quality of Work Survey reveals decline in working conditions
The preliminary results of the second Quality of Work in Italy Survey, carried out in 2006 by the National Training Agency, show that working conditions have tended to decline since the 2002 survey, although overall job satisfaction is still high. Italian workers seem to be less satisfied with their job autonomy, pay, job security and career opportunities. In general, factors causing gender gaps both at the workplace and in private life persist.

Working conditions remain stable in the Netherlands
The quality of work as well as health complaints in the Netherlands appear to be relatively stable. Pace of work seems to be on the increase again and more people are working in excess of their contractual hours. Notwithstanding changes in disability legislation, psychological disorders remain a factor in dropping out of employment. Overall, absenteeism has been decreasing recently although work-related illnesses tend to result in longer spells of absence.

Working longer, living better – What companies can do
Many companies have introduced flexible working time often as a way to meet the needs or preferences of older workers to work less and to have more autonomy in deciding their hours. A wide range of work schedules has developed to reflect different needs to balance work and non-work commitments. This fact sheet forms part of the Eurofound resource pack on ‘Working Longer, Living Better – Europe’s coming of age’. The pack explores the impact of an ageing society and workforce, providing insights into developments at EU, national and company level.

Survey highlights rise in psychosocial demands at work - Denmark
The National Research Centre for the Working Environment, formerly the National Institute of Occupational Health, has conducted the fourth Danish Work Environment Cohort Study (DWECS) covering the five-year period 2000–2005. The 2005 results indicate no clear trend of overall better or worse conditions for workers. Nevertheless, an increase in psychosocial demands at the workplace has been identified, such as a high pace of work, a demanding workload and emotional demands.

Decrease in health risks and accidents at the workplace - Poland
Risks to health in the workplace and occupational accidents and diseases have declined significantly in Poland in the 15 years from 1991 to 2005. Nevertheless, there are still a number of risk factors prevailing, with certain sectors being particularly vulnerable. At least 12% of the workforce is working under hazardous conditions and the total is probably even higher, as no data are available for privately owned farms and for enterprises with fewer than 10 employees: these are thought to be among the high risk categories.