A suggestion from the Social Democrats, the largest party in the coalition
government, on obligatory supplementary training funds has created
dissatisfaction among employers and trade unions. The Social Democrats'
proposal , issued in June 1999, takes as its point of departure the fact
that the government has done a great deal to improve education for children
and young people, and now wishes to make basic reforms in connection with
adult education and supplementary training courses.
The German tyre producer and automobile supplier Continental AG, which has
production plants in more than 15 countries and a worldwide workforce of
about 62,300 employees, is currently the target of a global trade union
campaign  organised by the International Federation of Chemical, Energy,
Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM), which accuses the company of
contravening ILO standards and the OECD guidelines for multinational
companies. ICEM is supporting its affiliate, the United Steelworkers of
America  (USWA) trade union, whose members have been on strike since
September 1998 at the US subsidiary Continental General Tire's plant in
Charlotte (North Carolina).
Figures  made public by Statistics Norway in May 1999 indicate that
286,000 working days were lost in labour disputes during 1998. A total of 36
disputes were registered in 1998, which involved approximately 27,000
employees. The figures for both working days lost and the number of disputes
are relatively high in a Norwegian context (NO9801147N ). However, the
number of working days lost due to industrial action was higher in 1992 and
in 1996. The figures cover only industrial disputes which lasted for more
than one working day. Thus, the political strike against the government's
proposal to cut one day of holiday entitlement was not taken into account in
the statistics on the number of working days lost (NO9810192N ).
On 29 April 1998, three butchers employed at Skanek, a major Swedish butchery
company, were dismissed. Management at the local factory in Kristianstad, in
the south of Sweden, stated that the reason for the dismissals was the
unlawful industrial action that had occurred at the factory that morning,
which led to a two-hour cessation of production. Most of the workers on the
slaughter line had refused to wear metallic protective aprons, which were
issued to every worker working on the line. Three butchers were selected for
dismissal, the employer assuming that they were the leaders of the "wildcat"
strike. The employer argued that the industrial action must have had
instigators, and that circumstantial evidence led to the conclusion that the
three butchers, who were trade union representatives, had taken the
initiative to strike.
Over the summer of 1999, the Spanish Ministry of Labour has criticised the
pre-retirement schemes of many companies on grounds of their cost to the
country's social security system. Though many of the companies involved are
the largest and most profitable ones, they are increasingly using early and
pre-retirement as part of their labour strategy. The government is therefore
now seeking ways of toughening the conditions for eligibility.
Finland's National Programme for Older Workers, which is being carried out in
cooperation between various ministries and the social partners, aims to
disseminate best practice in the management of an ageing workforce. In June
1999, the programme published a report on the case of ABB Control, a company
which has implemented a development project, preceded by a phase focusing on
the health and ability to work of the staff, and development of the
"workplace community". The parties involved have reportedly been satisfied
with the progress achieved and the commitment has been strong.
At a round-table meeting held on 11 May 1999 at the Ministry for Employment
and Solidarity, the government and social partners launched a new stage in
the fight against racial discrimination at the workplace in France. This
initial meeting concluded with the unanimous endorsement of a joint
declaration on racial discrimination tabled by the Minister for Employment
and Solidarity, Martine Aubry. The Minister also proposed amendments to
legislation, designed to make it easier to bring cases in the courts in the
event of discrimination. The social partners made a commitment to work
together to address all types of discrimination, though they unanimously
rejected the creation of a new independent administrative authority in this
On 1 June 1999, the Mining, Chemicals and Energy Union (Industriegewerkschaft
Bergbau,Chemie, Energie, IG BCE) and the German Federation of Chemicals
Employers' Associations (Bundesarbeitgeberverband Chemie, BAVC) signed a
pilot agreement for the collective bargaining district of Nordrhein. The new
agreement provides employees with a flat-rate payment of DEM 200 in respect
of May 1999 and a 3% increase in remuneration from June 1999. Vocational
trainees will receive no proportional wage increase, but a flat-rate payment
of DEM 200. The agreement runs for 13 months.
The Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU), Ireland's
largest trade union with some 200,000 members, has recorded 1,122 pay
settlements from the commencement of the current Partnership 2000  (P2000)
three-year national agreement (IE9702103F ) in January 1997 up to
mid-April 1999. The agreements cover 135,458 employees in either the private
sector or in commercial semi-state companies (these companies - such as Aer
Lingus, ESB and Telecom Eireann- are formally part of the P2000 private
sector pay deal). An analysis of the agreements, published on 13 May 1999 by
the independent weekly, /Industrial Relations News/ (IRN) indicates that the
degree of wage drift in Ireland's booming economy remains relatively modest
and that most unionised private sector and commercial semi-state companies
are maintaining pay increases in line with the level agreed in P2000
On 8 June 1999 the Norwegian parliament (Stortinget) approved a proposal from
the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs to alter the Opening Hours Act
(åpningstidsloven). The Act, which came into effect on 1 January 1999, has
been subject to much controversy since its adoption in June 1998. The changes
have been introduced in an effort to prevent the apparently ambiguous
interpretations by some commercial enterprises of the Act's clauses allowing
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.