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,
Special 'tripartite sector teams', made up of representatives of the social
partners and government, have been created in Poland since the 1990s to deal
with the problems of selected industries (such as coal mining, metalworking
and power generation) facing restructuring, privatisation and reorganisation.
The teams are responsible for drawing up guidelines on restructuring within
these sectors, including 'social packages' for employees. This article
examines the operation of the tripartite sector teams up until the end of
This series reports on the new forms of employment emerging across Europe that are driven by societal, economic and technological developments and are different from traditional standard or non-standard employment in a number of ways. This series explores what characterises these new employment forms and what implications they have for working conditions and the labour market.
The European Company Survey (ECS) is carried out every four to five years since its inception in 2004–2005, with the latest edition in 2019. The survey is designed to provide information on workplace practices to develop and evaluate socioeconomic policy in the EU. It covers issues around work organisation, working time arrangements and work–life balance, flexibility, workplace innovation, employee involvement, human resource management, social dialogue, and most recently also skills use, skills strategies and digitalisation.
The European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) is carried out every four to five years since its inception in 2003, with the latest edition in 2016. It examines both the objective circumstances of people's lives and how they feel about those circumstances and their lives in general. It covers issues around employment, income, education, housing, family, health and work–life balance. It also looks at subjective topics, such as people's levels of happiness and life satisfaction, and perceptions of the quality of society.
This series brings together publications and other outputs of the European Jobs Monitor (EJM), which tracks structural change in European labour markets. The EJM analyses shifts in the employment structure in the EU in terms of occupation and sector and gives a qualitative assessment of these shifts using various proxies of job quality – wages, skill-levels, etc.
Eurofound's European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) examines both the objective circumstances of European citizens' lives and how they feel about those circumstances and their lives in general. This series consists of outputs from the EQLS 2016, the fourth edition of the survey. The survey was first carried out in 2003.
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 EWCS 2015, the sixth edition of the survey. The survey was first carried out in 1990.
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 EWCS 1996, the second edition of the survey. The survey was first carried out in 1990.
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 EWCS 2001, which was an extension of the EWCS 2000 to cover the then 12 acceding and candidate countries. The survey was first carried out in 1990.
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 EWCS 2000, the third edition of the survey. The survey was first carried out in 1990.
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 first edition of the survey carried out in 2004–2005 under the name European Establishment Survey on Working Time and Work-Life Balance.
In 2022, the European Semester was streamlined to integrate the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) established on 19 February 2021 (Regulation (EU) 2021/241). While facing the geopolitical and economic challenges triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Member States have been implementing the national Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRPs) for more than one year and around 100 billion euro in RRF funds have already been disbursed.
This report explores the association between skills use and skills strategies and establishment performance, and how other workplace practices, in terms of work organisation, human resources management and employee involvement, can impact on this. It looks at how skills shortages can be addressed, at least in part, by creating an environment in which employees are facilitated and motivated to make better use of the skills they already have. This further supports the business case for a more holistic approach to management.
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.
With the expansion of telework and different forms of hybrid work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for policymakers to consider both the opportunities and the negative consequences that may result. This report will explore potential scenarios for such work. In doing so, it will identify trends and drivers, and predict how they might interact to create particular outcomes and how they are likely to affect workers and businesses. Policy pointers will outline what could be done to facilitate desirable outcomes and to avoid undesirable ones.
This report explores the drivers of economic and social convergence in Europe, using a selected set of economic and social indicators to examine trends in the performance of individual Member States. It also investigates what role the Economic and Monetary Union plays in convergence, particularly in southern and eastern Member States. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on convergence is analysed and initial conclusions are drawn about the impact of EU recovery packages and their ability to prevent divergence.
As economies emerge from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, labour shortages are becoming increasingly evident. These include shortages exacerbated by the crisis in some sectors and professions where they had been endemic for some time. This report will look at measures implemented at national level to tackle labour shortages in the health, care and information and communications technology sectors, as well as those arising from the twin digital and green transitions.
Adequate, affordable housing has become a matter of great concern, with an alarming number of Europeans with low or lower household incomes unable to access any, especially in capital cities. Housing was a key factor in people’s experience of the COVID-19 pandemic: its quality and level of safety significantly affected how lockdowns and social distancing measures were experienced, with those who had no access to quality housing at higher risk of deteriorating living conditions and well-being.
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered an extraordinary level of provision of social services across the EU. Healthcare and care providers carried much of the burden and, together with essential services, played a crucial role in getting citizens through the crisis. This report explores how public services adapted to the new reality and what role was played by the digital transformation of services. The aim is to contribute to the documentation and analysis of changes in funding, delivery and use of healthcare and social services during the pandemic.
The urban-rural divide in EU countries has grown in recent years, and the depopulation of certain rural areas in favour of cities is a challenge when it comes to promoting economic development and maintaining social cohesion and convergence. Using data from Eurofound and Eurostat, this report will investigate the trends and drivers of the urban-rural divide, in various dimensions: economic and employment opportunities, access to services, living conditions and quality of life.
Building on previous work by Eurofound, this report will investigate intergenerational dynamics over time. During the 2008 double-dip recession, worrying intergenerational divides appeared in many Member States, and while some of the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is universal, early data suggests disparities across demographic cohorts. Eurofound will examine how different age groups may have been affected in terms of their health, labour market participation, quality of life and financial needs, both in the short term and in the long term.