The Norwegian United Federation of Trade Unions (Fellesforbundet) held its
third national convention on 18-23 September 1999. Fellesforbundet is
Norway's second largest trade union, with nearly 160,000 members in the
metalworking, building, paper, agricultural and textiles industries. At the
top of the agenda was the issue of international coordination of collective
bargaining, with an emphasis on European coordination (TN9907201S ).
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 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.
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.
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.
Platform work – the matching of supply of and demand for paid labour through an online platform or app – is gaining increasing importance in Europe. It has attracted policy attention due to its inherent opportunities and challenges. Across Europe, initiatives have been introduced by governments, social partners and grassroots organisations aimed at harnessing the potential and reducing the risks of this employment form. The areas covered include regulation, representation, advice and information provision, as well as measures addressing social protection, ratings and training.
The use of artificial intelligence, advanced robotics and the Internet of Things technologies in the workplace can bring about fundamental changes in work organisation and working conditions. This report analyses the ethical and human implications of the use of these technologies at work by drawing on qualitative interviews with policy stakeholders, input from the Network of Eurofound Correspondents and Delphi expert surveys, and case studies.