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.
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.
In the first six months of 1999, collective bargaining progressed well in
Spain, according to figures from the CC.OO trade union confederation, though
greater success has been achieved in revising agreements than in reaching new
ones. Wage moderation has prevailed, and the agreements contain more clauses
on employment and on shorter working hours, though the reduction is moderate.
By making state funding for working time reductions contingent upon a company
agreement signed by majority trade unions or approval by a majority of the
employees, France's draft bill for a second law on the 35-hour week - issued
in summer 1999 - has brought the issue of unions' representative status to
the fore. Unions are split over the law's provisions on this issue.
A governmental committee chaired by special commissioner Hans Stark, a former
chief judge in the Labour Court, has been reviewing certain parts of the Act
concerning Equality between Men and Women (jämställdhetslagen, /1991:
433/). The review has primarily been conducted in order to achieve
harmonisation with EC equality law, and should also been seen in conjunction
with the three new Acts forbidding discrimination at work - covering
discrimination on grounds of ethnic origin, sexual orientation and disability
- adopted in March 1999 (SE9903148F ). The issues that have been
considered by the committee include the nature of the ban on discrimination
set out in the Act, damages for victims of discrimination, wage surveys and
issues related to work evaluation.
The European Commission believes that, in order for social protection to be
sustainable and progress into the next century, a clear strategy needs to be
implemented by Member States, with whom responsibility for their respective
social protection systems ultimately lies. However, in a new Communication
entitled A concerted strategy for modernising social protection(COM (1999)
347) , issued on 14 July 1999, the Commission also recognises the
importance of developing a close dialogue between Member States and EU
institutions on the future of social protection systems. The Communication
follows up the 1997 Communication
In an unusual move, the first collective agreement of the 1999-2000
bargaining round covers about 50,000 salaried employees in crafts and trades,
excluding metalworking and the construction and timber sectors. From 1
January 2000, their minimum salaries will, on average, rise by 1.6%. The
lowest full-time annual gross salary will then be ATS 161,980. Actual
salaries may rise by less, since their increase is not specified in the
agreement. The deal was concluded between the Union of Salaried Employees
(Gewerkschaft der Privatangestellten, GPA) and 30 trades associations of the
Austrian Chamber of the Economy (Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, WKÖ).
Comparative Study 
The comparative study was compiled on the basis of individual national
reports submitted by EIRO's national centres. The text of each of these
national reports is available below in Word format. The reports have not been
edited or approved by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living
and Working Conditions. The national reports were drawn up in response to a
questionnaire  and should be read in conjunction with it.
In September 1999, the Finnish Metalworkers' Union announced its aim of
achieving a new incomes policy agreement to succeed the current national
deal, which expires in January 2000. The union has threatened a general
strike, if necessary, in the event that sector-specific problems in the
forestry and chemical industries, which form an obstacle to reaching an
overall national agreement, cannot be resolved.
Historically, the German Social Democratic Party (Sozialdemokratische Partei
Deutschlands, SPD) and the German socialist trade unions, as opposed to the
Christian and liberal unions, have the same roots in the labour movement of
the second half of the 19th century. Since then, the Social Democrats and the
trade unions have maintained close links.
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 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.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the gas 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’s study on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations in the gas sector in the EU Member States.
This report analyses how working conditions, job quality and working life outcomes – such as work–life balance, health and well-being, and sustainability of work – changed between February 2020 and spring 2021. Following up on responses to the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) 2020, it explores the differences between three distinct groups of workers: those teleworking during the COVID-19 pandemic, those who continued to work on their employers' premises as frontline staff, and those who were furloughed or worked reduced hours.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the food and drinks 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 food and drinks sector in the EU Member States.
The COVID-19 crisis has increased inequality between social groups in health, housing, employment, income and well-being. While a small part of society was able to hold on to or increase its wealth, other groups such as women, young people, older people, people with disabilities, low- and middle-income earners and those with young children were acutely affected by the pandemic. Drawing on current research on how to best measure multidimensional inequality, this report highlights recent trends in inequality in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.
Lockdown measures and the economic shift following the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a widening of the gender divide between men and women, putting at risk some of the gender equality gains that had been made in previous years. This report analyses changes in the distribution of paid and unpaid work, along with care and domestic responsibilities, among men and women during the crisis. It also explores the impact of the pandemic on the well-being of women and men.
The financial services sector is pertinent for studying the impact of digitalisation, as the main ‘raw material’ of the sector is digitally stored and processed. Process automation in the sector is likely to lead to significant job losses over the next 10 years, as the high street bank presence declines and the online bank presence increasingly accounts for a higher share of overall activity. Such trends have already been identified in bank restructurings captured in Eurofound’s European Restructuring Monitor.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the electricity 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 electricity sector in the EU Member States.
This report offers a backward look at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the work and life of Europeans. The main focus is on Eurofound’s e-survey ‘ Living, working and COVID-19’ which was launched on 9 April 2020 just after the onset of the crisis. Through four rounds of the survey (two in 2020 and two in 2021), the range of questions changed to match the evolving situation and to understand the effects on the everyday lives of citizens and workers.
This report explores the drivers of economic and social convergence in Europe, using a selected set of economic and social indicators to examine trends in the performance of individual Member States. It also investigates what role the Economic and Monetary Union plays in convergence, particularly in southern and eastern Member States. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on convergence is analysed and initial conclusions are drawn about the impact of EU recovery packages and their ability to prevent divergence.
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.