In September 1999, the European Commission's review of Member States'
employment policies drew attention to Belgium's low rate of employment among
workers aged over 55. This view has been supported by the FEB/VBO employers'
organisation, but challenged by the FGTB/ABVV trade union confederation.
In 1998, working time was a major topic of debate among Spain's social
partners. However, statistics on 1998's collective bargaining on working
hours, published by the Economic and Social Council in summer 1999, reveal no
great surprises and a few contradictory tendencies.
Negotiations between the Electricians' Union (Elektrikerförbundet, SEF) and
the Swedish Electrical Contractors' Association (Elektriska
Installatörsorganisationen, EIO) over a new collective agreement broke down
for the second time on 22 September 1999. On 23 September, the trade union
relaunched a ban on overtime work, on employing new electricians and on the
lending of electricians between different companies. Industrial action had
first started on 9 September, but were suspended a week later when it seemed
that that parties had found a mutually acceptable platform for the
A recent study by the Dutch consultants EIM (based on data provided by the
social partner organisations) found that there are currently over 1 million
individuals working in the European hairdressing sector, in over 155,000
salons. The nature of companies in the sector varies significantly, ranging
from large high-street chains to small - often family-run - undertakings
operated from private homes. The study found that European citizens visited
hairdressers approximately eight or nine times per year, with some
significant differences between countries, not only in the number of visits,
but also in the average amount spent per visit. The share of part-time
employment in this sector is relatively high and a number of countries have
high levels of staff turnover. Trade unions are particularly concerned about
low wages in the sector, while employers are more likely to raise the issue
of high labour costs as a result of wage and tax burdens.
A ruling by the municipal court of Oslo on 18 August 1999 stipulates that the
practice of closed shop is not prohibited by domestic Norwegian law, and only
partially prohibited by the European human rights convention (ECHR). Three
international human rights declarations were incorporated into the Norwegian
legal framework, by means of a human rights Act in May 1999, among them the
ECHR (no9812104f ). In the case filed against the Norwegian People's Aid
(Norsk Folkehjelp), an aid organisation connected to the labour movement, by
a former employee, the issues considered were the legality of temporary
employment contracts, unfair dismissal and the legality of contractual closed
shop clauses. The plaintiff recovered judgement for the first two claims, and
as such was rewarded damages, but failed in the latter claim concerning
contractual closed shop arrangements.
A conflict at the Magna Auteca automotive components manufacturer has led to
debate over the appropriateness of works councils in Austria. The concern
currently has no works council and a dispute with trade unions over the issue
came to a head recently An employee who at a staff meeting in December 1998
made it known that she favoured the establishment of a works council was
dismissed in February 1999. Supported by the Union of Metal, Mining, and
Energy Workers (Gewerkschaft Metall-Bergbau-Energie, GMBE) she has been
alleging that the two events are connected - which would make her dismissal
illegal - and has sued the company for reinstatement. The case is currently
before the courts (AT9907157N ), though the verdict will not be returned
until spring 2000. Magna management states that the dismissal occurred
because of conflicts between the worker - who until May 1998 was an elected
"spokesperson" within Magna's internal system of employee representation -
and a department head, in which the other employees took the side of the
latter. Meanwhile the case has turned into a fierce conflict between Magna
and GMBE, which has led to further court action for libel. GMBE at one point
stated that it would form an international front against Magna, in which it
intended to enlist trade unions in Canada, the USA, the Czech Republic, the
UK and Germany. In late August 1999, works councils around Austria were asked
to write letters to newspapers denouncing Magna and its actions, a move which
was quickly exposed by Magna.
In September 1999, the views of Finland's social partners over a possible new
national incomes policy agreement were being sounded out. The willingness to
conclude a new incomes policy deal may have been strengthened by the report
of a tripartite fact-finding commission on the practical implementation of
the last two incomes policy agreements, which finds that purchasing power has
grown considerably faster than envisaged when the agreements were signed.
In early August 1999, a shop steward for the Belgian General Federation of
Labour (Fédération Générale du Travail de Belgique/Algemeen Belgisch
Vakverbond, FGTB/ABVV) was made redundant by Carnoy, a manufacturer of metal
pipes based in Wondelgem near Ghent, for "pressing reasons". Workers promptly
launched strike action, with official recognition by the three trade unions
represented at the company. The administrative staff did not participate in
the strike, and were prevented from accessing the site by flying pickets.
Since 1998, systems for jointly resolving labour conflicts out of court
created by the social partners have progressed greatly in Spain, helping
promote a framework of industrial relations founded less on the courts and
more on collective autonomy. As well as the SIMA national joint
dispute-resolution body, by autumn 1999, all but one of Spain's 17 autonomous
communities had their own regional body.
During 1999, seven companies in the Ericsson telecommunications group became
covered by an agreement concluded by the parent company with the Union for
Technical and Clerical Employees in Industry (Svenska
Industritjänstemannaförbundet, SIF), the Association of Graduated Engineers
(Sveriges Civilingenjörsförbund, CF) and the Association of Managerial
Staff (Ledarna). The agreement contains provisions on six months of extra
parental leave pay for employees who stay at home with a new baby or a small
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.
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 Jobs Monitor tracks changes in employment structure and contributes to the debate about whether European labour markets are polarising or upgrading. The European Jobs Monitor report in 2021 looks in particular at two dimensions of change in labour supply – increased female participation and population/workforce ageing – to show how they can contribute to an understanding of recent changes in employment structure.
This study presents policy-relevant findings on differential pay rates for men and women at occupational level. Previous research has underlined that the gender pay gap is biggest – and has been slowest to narrow – in well-paid jobs requiring professional qualifications. These are also jobs in which the female worker share is increasing relatively fast. The report maps the extent of the gender pay gap across the job-wage distribution, taking into account the shifting gender composition of specific sectors, occupations and jobs.
Following improvements in economic growth and labour market participation after the global financial and economic crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a new, unprecedented challenge for the EU. The crisis threatens to pose an existential challenge to the EU’s cohesion and legitimacy. The subject of upward convergence is once again centre stage in the European policy debate. Expanding on work done on this topic in previous years, this flagship report traces developments in economic and social indicators between the economic crisis and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While often considered staid, social partner organisations have developed different ways of using technology to communicate with their members, as well as to organise, mobilise and develop both internally, among staff, and externally, vis-à-vis members and the public. This topical update maps current practices in social partner organisations, describes developments in the use of technologies, and outlines the impact on social partner activities and organisation.
What have been the major trends and policy developments regarding digitalisation in Europe? What do we know about the deployment of automation, digitisation and the platform economy? This flagship publication provides an overview of developments in Europe in recent years, as well as mapping the observable or expected effects on employment and working conditions, as well as exploring the implications from a policy perspective.
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.
The COVID-19 pandemic radically reshaped workplace practices and work organisation across the EU. This report explores changes that occurred as a result of or during the COVID-19 pandemic in areas such as technological transformation, decision-making and remote working. The research sets out to learn from company experiences and measures that have proved critical to keeping businesses running. It aims to inform policymakers, employers and trade unions on how to make businesses, workplaces and workers more resilient in the face of a crisis such as COVID-19.
This report examines the phenomenon of overtime in the EU, providing a comparative description of how it is regulated in EU Member States. It also assesses how contentious the issue can be and investigates the reasons behind the various disputes and debates. Finally, the report attempts to quantify and characterise the share of overtime for which workers are not paid or compensated. The analysis is based on information collected in EU Member States by the Network of Eurofound Correspondents.
This report captures the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the quality of life of older citizens, including the impact on their well-being, finances, employment and social inclusion. It explores the effects on care use and reliance on other support. The report analyses policy measures that have been implemented in EU Member States that have proven particularly important for the quality of life of older citizens, for example, measures to support independent living.
This report examines a number of collective labour disputes involving industrial action in EU Member States, Norway and the UK. It provides a comprehensive study of each labour dispute, including information on industrial action events and the context for each dispute, as well as the relevant topics, actors, attempts at resolution and outcomes. Different types of collective labour disputes and their occurrence in various countries and sectors are presented, indicating how they are linked to different industrial relations regimes.