In a report published in September 1999, the Union of Industrial and
Employers' Confederations of Europe (UNICE) outlines its vision for social
Europe beyond 2000. The document, entitled "Releasing Europe's employment
potential - companies' views on European social policy beyond 2000,"
identifies unemployment as Europe's most fundamental economic and social
problem and sees competitiveness as one of the key solutions to economic and
social challenges, arguing that this should therefore be the underlying
concern throughout EU policy. UNICE states that, in order to translate growth
into employment, Europe needs to address the issues of economic globalisation
more effectively. It is argued that the high unemployment rates in Europe are
caused not by a lack of demand, but by structural problems.
From January 2000, insurance for work-related accidents and occupational
illnesses will be obligatory for Portugal's numerous self-employed workers,
many of whom work in the construction sector where the level of accidents is
the highest. The new legislation is one more step towards defining the status
of self-employed workers, but the trade unions see it as a means of applying
pressure to clarify the status of workers in situations of bogus
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.
The first half of 1999 saw a substantial increase in the use of temporary
agency work in Italy. Projections estimate that by the end of the year the
number of temporary agency workers will stand at 200,000. Agency work is on
the agenda of the social dialogue between the government and social partners
in autumn 1999.
On 20 April 1999, the first senate of the German Federal Labour Court
(Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG) issued a judgment (/1 ABR 72/98/) which
acknowledged the right of trade unions to bring court cases against employers
which they accuse of operating a company arrangement that contravenes a
collective agreement in force. In July 1999, the BAG published a
comprehensive written statement in which it sets out the reasons for its
judgment. According to the statement, trade unions have the right to ask that
employers cease an unlawful company arrangement in order to safeguard the
unions' constitutional right to freedom of association 
The Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU), Ireland's
largest trade union, is in the process of establishing its own internal
employee forum which is separate from the traditional industrial relations
processes within the union. The role of SIPTU's staff representative council,
which deals with industrial relations issues such as pay and conditions, is
to remain unchanged.
The Norwegian United Federation of Trade Unions (Fellesforbundet) and the
Norwegian Society of Engineers (Norges Ingeniørforbund, NITO) have concluded
an agreement to collaborate. Fellesforbundet is the largest member union in
the private sector of the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions
(Landsorganisasjonen i Norge, LO), and unionises among others blue-collar
workers in large parts of manufacturing industry as well as the building and
construction sector. NITO has approximately 45,000 members, 60% of whom work
in the private sector. NITO is leaving its present confederation, the
Confederation of Norwegian Professional Associations (Akademikernes
Fellesorganisasjon, AF) at the end of 1999, and has so far not made clear its
future confederal affiliation (NO9901111N ). It is doubtful that NITO
regards LO as an option in this regard, although the cooperation agreement
with Fellesforbundet shows an expressed willingness to strengthen its
cooperation with LO in the private sector. The two organisations have
cooperated on an informal basis for a long time.
Around 450 hospital orderlies and cleaners at three hospitals in the county
of Frederiksborg went on strike on 16 August 1999 in protest against a
proposal by the county council - headed by county mayor,Lars Lykke Rasmussen-
that all hospital orderly and cleaning work should be put out to tender by
private companies. The unofficial strike was a culmination of a long period
of dissatisfaction with statements from counties and municipalities in the
metropolitan area that they will outsource a large number of public tasks to
the private sector to achieve budget cuts. The Danish Confederation of Trade
Unions (Landsorganisationen Danmark, LO) organisation in the Copenhagen area
stated that the outsourcing plans indicated disdain for the municipal and
county employees and their performance over many years, and warned directly
that labour disputes might occur.
An agreement on teleworking was concluded in June 1999 between the
state-owned Norwegian oil company Statoil and the Norwegian Oil and
Petrochemical Workers Union (Norsk Olje- og Petrokjemisk Fagforbund, Nopef).
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 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.
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.
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.