In October 1999, the parties in the Netherlands' coalition government reached
a compromise on proposed legislation which will give part-time employees the
right to reduce or increase their working hours. Under the draft law, trade
unions and employers can make alternative arrangements in collective
agreements, otherwise this legal right applies. Employers can only deny
employee requests to increase or cut working hours on the grounds that this
specifically conflicts with business interests.
September and October 1999 have been marked by a number of protest actions
against expenditure cuts in some areas of the Danish public sector. These
have notably included actions by parents in Copenhagen and some other
municipalities against cutbacks in the area of daycare for children, and by
primary school teachers in several municipalities against cutbacks in their
area, related to the adoption of municipal budgets for 2000. These budgets
must, by law, be settled by 15 October 1999 and objections could thus occur
up until this point.
On 2-3 September 1999, the European Trade Union Federation - Textiles
Clothing and Leather (ETUF-TCL) adopted guidelines on collective bargaining
coordination, in the form of an internal sectoral protocol. The guidelines
constitute the latest step towards the promotion of social dialogue and the
coordination of collective bargaining policy in the sectors covered by
ETUF-TCL. European-level social dialogue in these sectors has so far resulted
in developments such as a code of conduct on minimum human rights at work
(EU9709150N ) and a charter on child labour (EU9810131F ).
The results of the 1998 Workplace Employee Relations Survey  (WERS 98),
published in September 1999, show that job security guarantees are
significantly more widespread in the financial services sector than in almost
every other part of the economy. Staff in almost 40% of workplaces in
financial services are covered by a job security or no-compulsory redundancy
policy. This compares with just 8% of all private sector workplaces, and 21%
of establishments in the public sector.
The privatisation of the Italian electric utility, Enel, began at the end of
October 1999. On 30 September 1999, the Ministry of Industry and trade unions
signed an agreement setting out binding employment and industrial relations
criteria for the privatisation of the company, which may set an example for
future privatisations and liberalisation in Italy.
On 19 October 1999, the bill on France's second law on the 35-hour working
week was passed on its first reading by the National Assembly. This
legislation, which should become law by the end of 1999, lays down new
statutory norms for the duration of working time and continues a policy of
reducing social security contributions on low-waged jobs.
A joint committee established by the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions
(Landsorganisasjonen i Norge, LO) and the Confederation of Norwegian Business
and Industry (Næringslivets Hovedorganisasjon, NHO) has been considering
changes to Norwegian working time schedules. The committee's report examines
different aspects of the issue of working time, as well as flexibility in a
short- and long-term perspective. The report, which was made public in
September 1999, originates in the 1998 spring pay settlement, when the
Norwegian United Federation of Trade Unions (Fellesforbundet) and the
Federation of Norwegian Manufacturing Industries (Teknologibedriftenes
Landsforening, TBL) jointly asked their main confederations to deliberate
over the issue of future working time schedules (NO9805164F ). The request
received support from the social partners in other bargaining areas. The
parties emphasise that the committee's mandate is to look at both "the
individual employee's need for increased flexibility at various stages in
working life, and the need of companies for flexibility in the face of
On 14 October 1999, during a debate in the Danish parliament (Folketinget),
the Minister of Labour, Ove Hygum, was asked the following question by the
labour affairs spokesperson of the Christian People's Party (Kristeligt
Folkeparti) Ole M Nielsen: "What initiatives will the government take in
order to limit or avoid the use of collective industrial action within areas
of social importance in the health sector, and simultaneously secure the
rights of the employees to a necessary extent?" Mr Hygum answered: "None".
A ministerial conference to address issues related to equal opportunities and
employment was held in Helsinki on 30 September and 1 October 1999, organised
by the Finnish Ministry of Employment, Social Affairs and Health as part of
the Finnish EU Presidency. The conference was attended by the new
Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs Anna Diamantopoulou and by
ministers from national governments with responsibility for employment and
equality issues (as well as members of the European Parliament and social
partner representatives). The conference focused on "mainstreaming" the
gender aspect both in employment policy and when integrating social security
and taxation issues into employment policy.
On 23 September 1999, the Department of Health announced that negotiations
with the British Medical Association (BMA) about junior doctors' working
hours and overtime pay had resulted in a draft agreement on new contractual
arrangements. The negotiations followed a decision by the BMA junior doctors'
conference in June to move to a ballot on industrial action over long hours
and low overtime pay (UK9906113N ). According to the Department of Health,
the proposed agreement would "modernise junior doctors' pay, reduce hours and
improve working conditions", and would "provide the opportunity, over a
three-year period, to see that junior doctors on average work no more than 56
hours a week".
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.
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 three rounds – in April and July 2020 and in March 2021. This is complemented by the inclusion of research into the ongoing effects of the pandemic in much of Eurofound’s other areas of work.
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).
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.