In early August 2003, the workforce of Factory Wagon SA, a privatised Polish
railway rolling-stock producer and repairer, launched strikes and other
protest action, with the immediate cause being several months' arrears in
wage payments. The strike ended in late August when the debt-ridden firm was
declared bankrupt, opening the way for the sale of its assets and possible
survival of its operations and jobs.
In August 2003, the Polish government named four coal mines which are to be
closed in 2004, following an agreement reached with mineworkers' trade unions
in 2002 on the closure of unprofitable mines. The announcement led to the
unions calling strike action in the mines concerned, despite government
assurances that new jobs or appropriate accompanying social measures will be
arranged for all the miners to be made redundant.
On 22 July 2003, the Austrian Trade Union Federation (Österreichischer
Gewerkschaftsbund, ÖGB) and the Chamber of Labour (Arbeiterkammer, AK)
jointly presented a study on the working and living conditions of 'atypical'
workers in Austria. The study (Atypisch beschäftigt - typisch für die
Zukunft der Arbeit ) evaluates interviews conducted in 2002 with 528
people who made use of special advisory services for 'atypical' workers
offered by both ÖGB and AK. More precisely, the researchers’ focus group
were self-employed people employed under either a 'free service contract'
(freier Dienstvertrag) or a 'contract for work' (Werkvertrag) (TN0205101S
). According to Austrian labour law, both groups are classified as
self-employed in the narrow sense, although they do not employ other people
and often work for only one client. Actually, their working situation
resembles to a great extent that of (dependent) employees. People working on
a 'contract for work' basis (also referred to as the 'new self-employed', or
neue Selbständige) are obliged to fulfil a certain, well-defined task,
regardless of whether they do this themselves or subcontract to other people.
For their part, 'free service contract' workers provide an (often fixed-term)
ongoing service. Formally, they are not subject to the instructions of the
client and are free to schedule their own working time. Working materials, in
general, have to be made available to these workers by the client.
The comparative study was compiled on the basis of individual national
reports submitted by EIRO's national centres. The text of each of these
national reports is available below in Word format. The reports have not been
edited or approved by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living
and Working Conditions. The national reports were drawn up in response to a
questionnaire  and should be read in conjunction with it.
On 11 June 2003, a tripartite meeting was held on the initiative of the
Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB ) to discuss
the issue of unpaid wages. The meeting brought together representatives of
the government, employers’ organisations and CITUB and its member branch
federations, along with trade union officials from some of the companies
Proposals for a radical re-organisation of time arrangements over working life using a life-course perspective tend to challenge the traditional understanding of socio-economic issues. The ‘life course’ concept itself is not new, as it has figured prominently in debates on labour market, social security, demographic and working time issues since the 1960s. It is now back on the political agenda. The Foundation’s report, A new organisation of time over working life, addresses the subject of reorganising time arrangements specifically from the life course perspective. The report concludes that an explicit life course policy offers much potential as an approach to facilitating a new organisation of time throughout working life. This paper summarizes the findings of the project which are published in a report (EF0336). An information sheet on this topic is also available (EF0344).
On 22 July 2003, theCouncil of the European Union adopted the 2003 employment
guidelines  and recommendations  on employment policy to Member States,
which had been proposed by the European Commission in April 2003. These
guidelines and recommendations are drawn up within the context of the
European employment strategy  (EES), which has been in place since 1997.
Following a review of the EES undertaken in 2002 after five years of
operation (EU0209204F ), and proposals for its streamlining, made by the
Commission in a Communication  in September 2002 (EU0210206F ), the
timing and the content has changed somewhat in 2003. Notably, the employment
guidelines have been revised so as to: ensure a stronger link with EU
economic policy coordination (through streamlined timetables); lay down fewer
guidelines with a broader perspective; provide a medium-term time horizon in
order to achieve an increased emphasis on results and outcomes; and
strengthen the involvement of the social partners, local authorities and
In July 2003, the Dutch social partners, represented on the bipartite Labour
Foundation, issued an opinion opposing a proposal for the reform of
dismissals law put forward by a government-appointed committee. The committee
proposed abolishing the system whereby dismissals must be approved in advance
by a public authority. The Foundation argues that the objections raised by
the committee do not outweigh the advantages of the present system, which
keeps costs in check and offers the parties involved a high degree of
certainty and security.
On 8 October 2001, the EU Council of Ministers adopted Council Regulation
(EC) No. 2157/2001  on the Statute for a European Company (or Societas
Europaea, SE) and Council Directive 2001/86/EC  supplementing the Statute
for a European Company with regard to the involvement of employees
(EU0206202F ). Member States must adopt the laws, regulations and
administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive by 8 October
2004 (the date that the Regulation, which is directly applicable in the
Member States, comes into force), or ensure by then that management and
labour introduce the required provisions by agreement. The European Company
Statute (ECS) Regulation gives companies the option of forming a European
Company (SE) which can operate on a Europe-wide basis and be governed by
Community law directly applicable in all Member States (rather than national
law). The Directive lays down the employee involvement provisions to apply to
SEs - providing for negotiations between management and employee
representatives in each SE on the arrangements to apply, with a set of
back-up statutory 'standard rules' where no agreement is reached. Involvement
constitutes the information and consultation of employees and, in some cases,
Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) paints a wide-ranging picture of Europe at work across countries, occupations, sectors and age groups. This series consists of findings from the European Working Conditions Telephone Survey (EWCTS) 2021, an extraordinary edition conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was first carried out in 1990.
This publication series gathers all overview reports on developments in working life, annual reviews in industrial relations and working conditions produced by Eurofound on the basis of national contributions from the Network of Eurofound Correspondents (NEC). Since 1997, these reports have provided overviews of the latest developments in industrial relations and working conditions across the EU and Norway. The series may include recent ad hoc articles written by members of the NEC.
Eurofound’s work on COVID-19 examines the far-reaching socioeconomic implications of the pandemic across Europe as they continue to impact living and working conditions. A key element of the research is the e-survey, launched in April 2020, with five rounds completed at different stages during 2020, 2021 and 2022. This is complemented by the inclusion of research into the ongoing effects of the pandemic in much of Eurofound’s other areas of work.
Eurofound's representativeness studies are designed to allow the European Commission to identify the ‘management and labour’ whom it must consult under article 154 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). This series consists of studies of the representativeness of employer and worker organisations in various sectors.
This series reports on developments in minimum wage rates across the EU, including how they are set and how they have developed over time in nominal and real terms. The series explores where there are statutory minimum wages or collectively agreed minimum wages in the Member States, as well as minimum wage coverage rates by gender.
The European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) launched in 1990 and is carried out every five years, with the latest edition in 2015. It provides an overview of trends in working conditions and quality of employment for the last 30 years. It covers issues such as employment status, working time duration and organisation, work organisation, learning and training, physical and psychosocial risk factors, health and safety, work–life balance, worker participation, earnings and financial security, work and health, and most recently also the future of work.
The European Restructuring Monitor has reported on the employment impact of large-scale business restructuring since 2002. This series includes its restructuring-related databases (events, support instruments and legislation) as well as case studies and publications.
Eurofound’s Flagship report series 'Challenges and prospects in the EU' comprise research reports that contain the key results of multiannual research activities and incorporate findings from different related research projects. Flagship reports are the major output of each of Eurofound’s strategic areas of intervention and have as their objective to contribute to current policy debates.
Eurofound’s European Company Survey (ECS) maps and analyses company policies and practices which can have an impact on smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as the development of social dialogue in companies. This series consists of outputs from the ECS 2019, the fourth edition of the survey. The survey was first carried out in 2004–2005 as the European Survey on Working Time and Work-Life Balance.
This series reports on and updates latest information on the involvement of national social partners in policymaking. The series analyses the involvement of national social partners in the implementation of policy reforms within the framework of social dialogue practices, including their involvement in elaborating the National Reform Programmes (NRPs).
The strict public health restrictions implemented by governments in 2020 to control the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly changed working life and continued to shape it over the two years that followed. Between March and November 2021, over 70,000 interviews were carried out in 36 countries by the European Working Conditions Telephone Survey (EWCTS), a high-quality probability-based survey. The aim was to provide a detailed picture of the working lives of Europeans in that exceptional time.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the textiles and clothing sector. Their relative representativeness legitimises their right to be consulted, their role and effective participation in the European sectoral social dialogue and their capacity to negotiate agreements. The aim of this Eurofound study on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations in the textiles and clothing sector in the EU Member States.
This report is carried out in the context of the three-year pilot project (2021–2023), ‘Role of the minimum wage in establishing the Universal Labour Guarantee’, mandated to Eurofound by the European Commission. Its focus is module 3 of the project, investigating minimum wages and other forms of pay for the self-employed. Out of concern for the challenging conditions faced by certain groups of self-employed workers, some Member States have established or are in discussions about proposing some statutory forms of minimum pay for selected categories of the self-employed.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the electricity sector. Their relative representativeness legitimises their right to be consulted, their role and effective participation in the European sectoral social dialogue and their capacity to negotiate agreements. The aim of this Eurofound study on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations in the electricity sector in the EU Member States.
The hospital sector has been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitals and their workers are on the frontline in the fight against the virus, and they face a number of significant challenges in terms of resources, work organisation and working conditions. This study will explore the role of social dialogue and collective bargaining in how the sector is adapting to the pandemic. What kinds of changes have been introduced, either through social dialogue or collective bargaining? Are the changes temporary or permanent?
This report analyses the role of social dialogue and collective bargaining in addressing the challenges faced by the civil aviation sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. Social partner involvement in the measures introduced to mitigate the negative impacts of the pandemic varies across European countries. Social dialogue and collective bargaining played a prominent role in most countries, while in others they had a more limited role. The report also explores changes made to existing social dialogue and/or collective bargaining processes at national level.
The report provides an overview of the scale of teleworking before and during the COVID-19 crisis and gives an indication of ‘teleworkability’ across sectors and occupations. Building on previous Eurofound research on remote work, the report investigates the way businesses introduced and supported teleworking during the pandemic, as well as the experience of workers who were working from home during the crisis. The report also looks at developments in regulations related to telework in Member States and provides a review of stakeholders’ positions.
This paper provides an analytical summary of state of the art academic and policy literature on the impact of climate change and policies to manage transitions to a carbon neutral economy on employment, working conditions, social dialogue and living conditions. It maps the key empirical findings around the impact of climate change and the green transitions on jobs, sectors, regions and countries in Europe, identifying the opportunities and risks that climate change policies bring to European labour markets.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the textiles and clothing sector. Their relative representativeness legitimises their right to be consulted, their role and effective participation in the European sectoral social dialogue and their capacity to negotiate agreements.
This report offers the most up to date insight on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the work and life of Europeans over the last two years. The main focus is on Eurofound’s e-survey Living, working and COVID-19 which was launched on 9 April 2020 just after the onset of the crisis. Through five rounds of the survey (two in 2020, two in 2021 and one in 2022), the range of questions changed to match the evolving situation and to understand the effects on the everyday lives of citizens and workers in the EU27.