27 April 1998
Following the decision in December 1997 by the Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe (UNICE), the European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation and of Enterprises of General Economic Interest (CEEP) and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) to open negotiations on the rights of workers on fixed-term contracts (EU9802183F ), the first meeting of the negotiating group took place on 23 March 1998.  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/undefined-industrial-relations/unice-opens-door-to-negotiations-on-rights-of-fixed-term-contract-workers
27 March 1998
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg has ruled that the principle of equal pay and treatment between the sexes does not apply to homosexual couples. Although the new Amsterdam Treaty  (EU9707135F ), which is currently being ratified by the Member States, makes provision for the Council of Ministers unanimously to adopt measures to combat all forms of discrimination (including discrimination based on sexual orientation), the ECJ decided in this case that Community law does not cover discrimination based on sexual orientation.  http://europa.eu.int/abc/obj/amst/en/index.htm  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/undefined/amsterdam-treaty-brings-small-advances-for-employment-and-social-policy
27 March 1998
At a meeting in Brussels on 16 February 1998, the EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council of Ministers expressed their doubts over the real impact on employment of a reduction of value-added tax (VAT) on labour-intensive services. This proposal was included in a Communication from the European Commission (EU9711161N ) drawn up in preparation for the special European Council Jobs Summit  held in Luxembourg in November 1997 (EU9711168F ). The Commission document examined the scope for Member States to reduce the rate of VAT levied on a limited number of labour-intensive local services, such as repair services, the renovation and repair of buildings, theme parks, cleaning and laundry services, home helps and care for children, disabled and older people. It was suggested that a reduction of VAT could be applied in very limited number of cases in order to test the job-creation potential of such measures, particularly for low-skilled and long-term unemployed individuals. Calls for a reduction of VAT on labour-intensive services were voiced by the social partners representing workers in the cleaning industry at a seminar held in October 1997 to discuss new employment opportunities in the sector (EU9710153F ).  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/commission-suggests-boosting-job-creation-potential-through-vat-cuts  http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/elm/summit/en/home.htm  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/undefined/employment-summit-agrees-limited-package-of-measures-to-combat-unemployment  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/undefined/conference-highlights-contribution-of-sectoral-social-dialogue-to-the-european-employment-strategy
27 March 1998
The Maastricht and Amsterdam Treaties strengthened the role of intersectoral and sectoral social partner organisations in the European decision-making process. While the outcomes of intersectoral discussions between the Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe (UNICE), the European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation and of Enterprises of General Economic Interest (CEEP) and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) are widely reported, the processes, participants and outcomes of the sectoral social dialogue process are less well known. This EIRO record - which focuses on the sectoral social dialogue in the public services - is the first in a new series outlining the actors involved in, and the outcomes of, a process which is gaining increasing momentum and importance at the European level.
27 March 1998
The UK EU Presidency of the first half of 1998 has issued a proposal aimed at breaking the 25-year deadlock on European Commission proposals for the establishment of a European Company Statute. The Statute would enable European multinational undertakings to operate under rules governed by EU company law, rather than a diverse set of different regulations in different Member States. It is also envisaged that such companies should benefit from a special tax status, thus increasing their competitiveness in the world market. Although the fine details of the status of such a structure in company law are yet to be ironed out, most of the controversy which has stalled this proposal has centred around the issue of worker involvement in such a new structure. In 1996, a high-level expert group was set up by the Commission with the aim of developing solutions to this problem which would assist in breaking the deadlock, particularly in respect of those countries which feared that such legislation would undermine strong national involvement rights, as well as objections from those countries which currently have no legal mechanisms for ensuring employee involvement.
27 February 1998
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has expressed concern about a proposal issued by the European Commission, which seeks to ensure the free movement of goods within the European Union during periods when an industrial dispute is taking place in a Member State.
27 February 1998
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) celebrated its 25th or "silver" anniversary in February 1998 with a conference entitled "New times - new unions". The event, jointly hosted by ETUC and the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) from 5-7 February, also aimed to start a debate on the ETUC in a changing society - a debate which is set to culminate in the next ETUC congress in 1999. Speaking at the conference, ETUC president Fritz Verzetnitsch stressed how far ETUC had come, from being a "platform in search of a common denominator" to a "full trade union player" on the European stage. He also highlighted the important role played by ETUC in initiating and supporting the development of European industrial relations, involving not only the trade union leadership, but also the grassroots.
27 February 1998
On 12 February 1998, the European Commission adopted a report on the implementation of the Council Recommendation of 31 March 1992 on childcare (92/241/EEC ). The Recommendation was adopted as part of the Community's Third Equal Opportunities Action Programme (1991-5) and the Commission's social Action Programme accompanying the 1989 Community Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers  (the "Social Charter"). Both the Third Action Programme and the Social Charter emphasised the importance of measures to enable men and women to reconcile work and family life. Such measures were to act as a means to achieve greater equality of opportunity for women and men in the labour market. The 1998 guidelines for Member States' employment policies , which were adopted by the Council of Ministers in December 1997 (EU9712174N ), also call for adequate provision to be made for the care of children and other dependants in order to enable greater equality in the labour market.  http://europa.eu.int/comm/sg/scadplus/leg/en/cha/c10916.htm  http://eurotext.ulst.ac.uk/policy/social/charter/92826097/92826toc.html#x  http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/elm/summit/en/papers/guide2.htm  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/1998-employment-policy-guidelines-adopted
27 January 1998
In May 1997, the group of experts on "European systems of worker involvement", known as the Davignon group, after its chair, issued its report  (EU9705128N ). The group had been set up by the European Commission essentially to suggest ways of breaking the deadlock on worker involvement measures which had blocked the adoption of the European Company Statute for many years. The report set out recommendations for the information, consultation and board-level participation of employees in the European Company (SE), which were then largely taken up by the Luxembourg EU Presidency of the second half of 1997 in a new draft version of the Statute (EU9710158N ).  http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/soc-dial/labour/davignon/davien.htm  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/davignon-group-on-worker-involvement-publishes-recommendations  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/labour-and-social-affairs-council-dominated-by-preparations-for-jobs-summit
27 January 1998
The Federation of Transport Workers' Unions in the European Union (FST) and theEuropean Community Shipowners' Association (ECSA) agreed a joint text on working time and time off aboard ship in December 1997. The approximately 128,000 EU nationals and 26,000 non-EU nationals employed in the maritime sector are among the workers excluded from the provisions of the EU Directive (93/104/EC) on certain aspects of the organisation of working time.