On 8 May 2003, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled (in case C-171/01
 /Wählergruppe Gemeinsam Zajedno v Birlikte Alternative und Grüne
GewerkschafterInnen/UG/) that the Republic of Austria must allow employees of
Turkish nationality to be eligible to stand as candidates for election to the
general assembly of the Chamber of Labour (Arbeiterkammer, AK). The judgment
resulted from a case referred by the Austrian Constitutional Court
(Verfassungsgerichtshof, VfGH) to the ECJ for a preliminary ruling in March
2001. The VfGH - Austria's highest court for matters including elections to
statutory representative bodies in the industrial relations field, such as
the Chamber of Labour - had referred the matter to the ECJ since the former's
members had been undecided as to whether Community law was in conflict with
the Austrian legislation which excludes workers who are citizens of countries
outside the European Economic Area (EEA) from eligibility to stand for
election as officers in the Chamber of Labour (AT9802168N ).
Since autumn 2002, trade unions representing staff employed in the French
state education system have been taking industrial action in opposition to
the government’s planned reforms in areas including pensions,
decentralisation and budget cuts. After an 11th day of strike action and
protests on 10 June 2003, the government made some progress in placating the
unions. Whatever the outcome of this dispute, it is probable that the
discontent among teachers, who have been highly mobilised for months, will be
According to a representative survey of 1,001 firms with fewer than six
employees carried out by the Forsa Society for Social Research and
Statistical Analysis (Gesellschaft für Sozialforschung und statistische
Analysen mbH, forsa ) in March 2003, many small firms of this size have
encountered difficulties owing to Germany's dismissal protection 
legislation over the past five years. The protective legislation currently
applies to employers with more than five employees. The survey finds that
since 1998, among firms with four or five employees, 14% and 15% respectively
have had negative experiences related to this legislation. One in seven small
firms in the representative survey state that they have not created new jobs
due to the strict dismissal protection legislation which applies when their
workforce exceeds five. For enterprises with four or five employees, which
would be most immediately affected if they employed additional staff, this
figure increases to 27% and 31% respectively - see the table below.
In March 2003, the Institute for Economic and Social Research within the Hans
Böckler Foundation (Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut in
der Hans-Böckler-Stiftung, WSI) presented the first results of its third
works and staff council survey (published in a special issue  of
/WSI-Mitteilungen/, Vol. 56, No. 3, 2003). The survey was carried out in
summer 2002 and included a representative sample of establishments with 20 or
more employees. The principal aim of the survey is to give a current overview
of the situation of works council  s and (public sector) staff council 
s in Germany and to monitor industrial relations at establishment level. A
special evaluation of the survey data provides information on implementation
of the 2001 reform of the Works Constitution  Act
(Betriebsverfassungsgesetz, BetrVG) (DE0107234F ) with regard to the
promotion of the representation of women on works councils and of equal
opportunities for men and women at company level ('Gleichstellung von Frauen
und Männern in der betrieblichen Interessenvertretung', Christina Klenner
and Christiane Lindecke, in /WSI-Mitteilungen/, Vol. 56, No. 3, 2003).
In March 2002, the central EU-level social partners agreed a 'framework of
actions  ' for the lifelong development of competencies and qualifications
(EU0204210F ). The signatories were: the European Trade Union
Confederation (ETUC) - whose delegation included representatives of the
liaison committee for managerial and professional staff, which brings
together the ETUC-affiliated Council of European Professional and Managerial
Staff (EUROCADRES) and the independent European Confederation of Executives
and Managerial Staff (CEC); the Union of Industrial and Employers'
Confederations of Europe (UNICE), in cooperation with the European
Association of Craft and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (UEAPME); and the
European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation and of Enterprises
of General Economic Interest (CEEP). The framework identified the following
four priority areas for action:
Dans l’Union européenne, l’année 2002 a en général été marquée par
un ralentissement de la croissance économique, une hausse du chômage et une
recrudescence de l’inflation. Il n’est pas surprenant dans ce contexte
que les salaires - et notamment les appels à la modération salariale -
aient revêtu autant sinon davantage d’importance dans les relations
industrielles. Par ailleurs, l’évolution des salaires a plus que jamais
été un thème phare en 2002, année où l’Union économique et monétaire
(UEM) de l’UE est entrée dans une nouvelle phase avec l’introduction des
billets et des pièces en euros dans les 12 pays de la 'zone euro'. Les
avancées de l’UEM impliquent que les pays de la zone euro ne pouvant plus
utiliser les taux de change et les taux d’intérêt comme moyens de
compensation des déséquilibres des performances économiques, la politique
salariale a dû jouer un rôle de plus en plus important pour corriger ces
déséquilibres. En outre, dans le cadre de l’UEM, l’évolution des
salaires constitue un facteur clé pour déterminer si l’économie de
l’UE connaît une tendance inflationniste ou déflationniste.
L’introduction de l’euro a par ailleurs amélioré la transparence en
matière de comparaison des niveaux de salaire en Europe.
In der gesamten Europäischen Union war 2002 generell ein Jahr, in dem sich
das Wirtschaftswachstum verlangsamte, die Arbeitslosigkeit zunahm und sich
die Inflation verstärkte. Es ist nicht überraschend, dass in diesem Kontext
die Entlohnung - und insbesondere Aufforderungen in Bezug auf maßvolle
Lohnforderungen - ihre zentrale Bedeutung für die Arbeitsbeziehungen behielt
und sogar noch ausbaute. Zudem standen im Jahr 2002 die Lohnentwicklungen
stärker als je zuvor im Brennpunkt des Interesses, da in diesem Jahr die
Wirtschafts- und Währungsunion (WWU) der EU mit der Einführung von
Euro-Banknoten und -Münzen in den zwölf Ländern des 'Euro-Gebiets' in eine
neue Phase trat. Der Fortschritt der WWU bedeutet, dass sich die
Aufmerksamkeit mehr und mehr auf die Entlohnung als Mittel für die Anpassung
an wirtschaftliche Ungleichgewichte richten wird, da die Länder des
Euro-Gebiets für derartige Anpassungen keine Wechselkurse und Zinssätze
mehr verwenden können. Ferner sind innerhalb der WWU die Lohnentwicklungen
ein Schlüsselfaktor dafür, ob sich die Wirtschaft der EU in Richtung einer
Inflation oder einer Deflation entwickelt. Durch die Einführung des Euro
sind Lohnvergleiche innerhalb Europas auch transparenter geworden.
In May 2003, the white-collar Confederation of Vocational Unions
(Yrkesorganisasjonenes Sentralforbund, YS) participated for the first time in
the statutory congress  of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC),
held in Prague. Over the previous year or so, YS had joined international
trade union organisations at the Nordic, European and global level - ie the
Council of Nordic Trade Unions (Norden Faglige Samorganisasjon, NFS ),
ETUC, and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU ).
YS had long aspired to become a member of these organisations, and its
leader, Randi Bjørgan, stated in a press release that she was delighted
finally to be able to represent YS at the ETUC congress. She emphasised in
her speech at the congress that the issues facing Norwegian trade unions are
also important issues in other countries, and that the congress confirmed the
value of cooperation to tackle these issues through the European trade union
Figures published by Statistics Norway (Statistisk Sentralbyrå, SSB) in
mid-2003 suggest that approximately 150,000 working days were lost as a
result of labour disputes in 2002. The number of working days lost per 1,000
employees was approximately 70. This means that the number of working days
lost in industrial disputes in 2002 (NO0206105F ) was lower than in the
other years over the past decade when bargaining over main wage settlements
occurred (ie 1992, 1996, 1998 and 2000). The equivalent figure in 2000, the
year of the last main bargaining round, was just under 500,000. At the same
time, however, the 2002 figures confirm that Norway is among those
industrialised countries with a medium to high level of industrial conflict
This report outlines the proceedings from a Foundation seminar on the theme of interactions between the labour market and social protection. The main conclusion to emerge is that interactions between the labour market and social protection are complex but very necessary in the current situation in Europe. Creative policy mixes are needed in order to make the trajectories of policy reform successful. They will lead to more sustainability of the European social model. The seminar expanded on work done previously by the Foundation such as the first Foundation paper on quality of work and employment. It referred also to a number of more specific projects, which are/have been carried out by the Foundation such as ‘negotiating the conditions of flexibility’, ‘pacts for employment and competitiveness’, and ‘integrated approaches towards the activation of minimum-income recipients’.
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.
The European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) launched in 1990 and is carried out every five years, with the latest edition in 2020. 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.
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 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, conducted in two rounds – in April and in July 2020. 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 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.
Eurofound's representativness 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 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).
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.
Closing gender gaps in the labour market by achieving the equal participation of women is among the key objectives of the new Gender Equality Strategy 2020–2025. Despite significant progress in reducing the gender employment gap, it has stagnated over the past few years. Moreover, segregation in employment across sectors and occupations is still pervasive.
The long-term care (LTC) sector employs an increasing share of workers in the EU, with increasing shortages. The LTC workforce is mainly female and a relatively large and increasing proportion is 50 or older. Migrants are often concentrated in certain LTC jobs. This report maps the working conditions, the nature of employment and the role of collective bargaining in the sector. It also discusses policies to make the sector more attractive, combat undeclared work and to improve the situation of a particular vulnerable group of LTC workers: live-in carers.
The EU strives for the upward convergence of its Member States, where their performance improves and gaps between them decrease. Nearly a decade after the Great Recession, the COVID-19 crisis has again put this objective under pressure. This policy brief focuses on convergence in material well-being in Europe. Trends in several indicators largely follow the economic cycle, with upward convergence in good times and downward divergence in bad times.
Social, economic and technological changes are giving rise to new forms of employment. These differ from 'traditional' work either in the relationship between employer and employee or in the unconventional work patterns and places of work that characterise them. While these new forms of employment can contribute to more inclusive labour markets, legalise undeclared work and offer preferential working conditions, some also raise concerns about, for example, job quality and representation. This report updates Eurofound's 2015 mapping of emerging trends.
New digital technologies have expanded the possibilities of employee monitoring and surveillance, both in and outside the workplace. In the context of the increasing digitalisation of work, there are many issues related to employee monitoring that warrant the attention of policymakers. There are the often-cited privacy and ethical concerns but also important implications for worker–employer relations, as digitally enabled monitoring and surveillance inevitably shift power dynamics in the workplace.
Representativeness of the European social partner organisations: Local and regional government sector and social servicesForthcoming
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the local and regional administration 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 flagship report consolidates findings in the industrial relations field from research conducted by Eurofound over the course of its multiannual work programme for 2017–2020. It considers the strengths and weaknesses of European social dialogue, including the linkages with national social dialogue and the capacity constraints of the actors. A national comparative analysis draws on projects that have mapped the key features of national industrial relations systems.
How can working conditions be improved to make work more sustainable over the life course? This question has been the guiding principle for analysis of the 2015 European Working Conditions Survey data during the period of Eurofound’s work programme for 2017–2020. This flagship report brings together the different research strands from this work and gives a comprehensive answer to the question. It includes an analysis of trends in working conditions, examining whether these are the same for all workers or whether inequalities between different groups of workers are increasing.
This report builds on Eurofound's existing research on social mobility, assessing the distribution and transmission of wealth in Member States. It examines the roles of inheritance and household debt in explaining the transmission of advantage or disadvantage between the generations across Member States. The analysis is based on Eurosystem's Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS).
This report analyses the involvement of the national social partners in the implementation of policy reforms within the framework of social dialogue practices, and their involvement in elaborating the National Reform Programmes (NRPs) and other key policy documents of the European Semester cycle.