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.
Over 1999, a committee of experts set up in February by the Dutch Minister of
Social Affairs and Employment has been examining possible reform of the law
governing dismissal. Although reform of dismissals law has been attempted
frequently in the past, the prevailing law has remained largely unchanged
over the last half century. Nonetheless, the law's application in practice
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
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.
On 27 May 1999, negotiators for the Federation of Salaried Employees in
Industry and Services (Privattjänstemannakartellen, PTK) - the bargaining
cartel for white-collar workers' unions in the private sector - announced
that they could not accept a final offer from the Swedish Employers'
Confederation (Svenska arbetsgivareföreningen, SAF) on a new "contribution
pension" agreement. This agreement would have replaced the existing agreement
on the supplementary pension scheme for salaried employees in industry and
services (Industrins och handelns tilläggspensionför tjänstemän,ITP). The
negotiations over a new collective agreement on the ITP had been continuing
on off for almost five years, since 1994, and they failed because the trade
unions could not come to an understanding among themselves. Two of the
leading unions within PTK, representing more than half of the 620,000
employees covered by the ITP scheme, refused to accept. The other 26 unions
within the cartel decided, after long discussions, to follow this refusal,
although they had initially accepted the offer. The dissenting unions were
the Union for Technical and Clerical Employees in Industry (Svenska
Industritjänstemannaförbundet, SIF) and the Association of Management and
Professional Staff (Ledarna).
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.
This report focuses on trends and developments in collective bargaining that were evident from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It examines potential new strategic approaches and priorities incorporated in negotiation agendas, as well as collective bargaining practices and coordination at sector and company levels in the private sector.
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.
There have always been workers who have worked at different locations, on site with customers or while on the move. Companies have also developed open-plan workspaces to cut costs and foster cooperation. Cloud computing allows workers to access internal data from anywhere, while digitalisation increases the use of automated decision-making and control based on (big) data. This report addresses the extent to which place of work determines job quality.
Given that compliance with lockdown measures is a first line of defence against COVID-19, maintaining trust in institutions is vital to ensure a coordinated, comprehensive and effective response to the pandemic. This report investigates developments in institutional and interpersonal trust across time, with a particular emphasis on the COVID-19 pandemic period and its impact. It examines the link between trust and discontent and investigates the effect of multidimensional inequalities as a driver of distrust.
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.
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 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.
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.