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.
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 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.
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.
Finland's current two-year national incomes policy agreement expires in
January 2000. The AKAVA trade union confederation, which represents
professional staff, announced in September 1999 that it is seeking a new
wide-ranging, two-year incomes policy solution which will strengthen the
Finnish economy, promote employment and "coping" at work, and safeguard the
positive development in employees' purchasing power of recent years.
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
1999 is the United Nations International Year of Older Persons  and in
acknowledgement of this, the European Commission published in May a
Communication entitled Towards a Europe for all ages - promoting prosperity
and intergenerational solidarity(COM(1999) 221 final) . It details the
demographic, social and economic effects of ageing and proposes strategies
intending to ensure that an effective policy is in place to support the
ageing population. The aim of the Communication is to stimulate debate
between and with Member States.
From 10 to 17 September 1999, the Austrian Trade Union Federation
(Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund, ÖGB) organised a week of action to
underline its demand for a harmonisation of the legal position of wage
earners and salary earners (AT9906153N ). Legal distinctions between the
two categories persist in areas such as compensation during sick leave and
regulations governing dismissal. About 200 events were scheduled in the week
of action. The opening event took place in a square in Vienna and included
speeches and a pantomime. It was preceded by 6,000 faxes sent to the Austrian
Chamber of the Economy (Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, WKÖ), asking it to
give up its resistance to harmonisation. In other areas, information
hand-outs and homing pigeons were used in the actions. The public spaces
around provincial WKÖ headquarters were targeted for activities while others
took place in companies, without disrupting production.
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.
Social dialogue lies at the heart of the EU treaties and governance. Social partners are core stakeholders who can assess policy needs and contribute to policy formation and to designing and implementing national reforms in the social and employment fields. This report focuses on the timely and meaningful involvement of national social partners in the preparation of the new resilience and recovery plans and the national reform programmes (NRPs) that were temporarily integrated under the European Semester in 2021.
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.
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.
As the EU embarks on the transition to a climate-neutral economy, it is crucial to understand the impact of such a transition on production models, employment, work organisation, working conditions, social dialogue and citizens’ lives and living conditions.
This report investigates the practical implementation of the European Works Council (EWC) Directive at company level. It explores the challenges faced by existing EWCs and provides examples of identified solutions and remaining issues from the point of view of both workers and management. The report looks at the way that EWCs meet the requirements of the EWC Directive in terms of establishing processes of information and consultation.
Hospital and civil aviation workers have been severely impacted by COVID-19. While hospitals are on the frontline when it comes to fighting this global pandemic, civil aviation is experiencing the most challenging crisis ever encountered in the sector. This study explores how social dialogue and collective bargaining are playing a role in the way both sectors are adapting to the pandemic. What kind of changes have been introduced, either through social dialogue or collective bargaining? Are the changes temporary or permanent?
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.
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.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the civil aviation 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 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.