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  • Article
    27 februar 1997

    Compared to many other western industrialised countries, Germany has the
    image of being a high-wage economy with a relatively low inequality of
    incomes and living standards. This is mainly the result of the German system
    of branch-level central collective bargaining (Flächentarifvertrag), where
    almost all employees in any sector receive the same basic payment.
    Nevertheless, it is not widely known that there is still a large number of
    sectors and areas of employment where collectively-agreed basic wages and
    salaries are relatively low. This is the main finding of a recent study by
    the Institute for Economics and Social Science (Wirtschafts- und
    Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut,WSI) on low wages in Germany
    ("Niedriglöhne. Die unbekannte Realität: Armut trotz Arbeit", Gerd Pohl &
    Claus Schäfer (eds), VSA-Verlag Hamburg (1996)). The study was inspired by
    the European Commission which, in 1993, adopted an Opinion on an equitable
    wage, the main purpose of which was "to outline certain basic principles on
    equitable wages, while taking into account social and economic realities".

  • Article
    27 februar 1997

    Figures from the Confederation of Norwegian Business and Industry (
    Næringslivets Hovedorganisasjon or NHO) show that over 530,000 working days
    were lost in industrial conflict during the 1996 wage negotiations. These
    figures cover only private sector companies which are members of NHO, but
    nearly all industrial conflicts in 1996 took place within this area. This is
    the highest number of working days lost since 1986, when Norway experienced a
    major lockout in the private sector. In 1996, lawful strikes accounted for
    all the lost working days, and the number of working days lost in strikes
    alone (ie, excluding lock-outs) is thus the highest since the 1930s. The
    major strikes all came in the private sector and among unions affiliated to
    the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (Landsorganisasjonen i Norge, or
    LO). The Government did not, as often before, intervene to stop strikes with
    compulsory arbitration. Three strikes accounted for the majority of lost
    working days. These came in the metal industry, the hotel and restaurant
    industry and in the electrical installation industry.

  • Article
    27 februar 1997

    The agreement was concluded on 11 February 1997 and sets out the ways in
    which the financial recovery, growth and modernisation of the Italian rail
    system will be brought about in line with the guidelines of the 1991
    Directive on the development of Community railways (440/91/EEC). The deal was
    signed by the Ministry of Transport, the state railways board (FS), and the
    following railway trade union organisations: CGIL (the General Confederation
    of Italian Workers); CISL (the Italian Confederation of Workers' Unions); UIL
    (the Union of Italian Workers); the three confederations' respective sectoral
    organisations - Filt-Cgil, Fit-Cisl and Uilt-Uil; and three non-confederal
    organisations - Fisafs-Cisal (the autonomous rail trade union), Comu
    (theUnited Train Drivers' Committee) and Sma ( the Train Drivers' Trade

  • Article
    27 februar 1997

    Some Portuguese sectors have been characterised by a widespread move away
    from standard, regular and permanent jobs towards temporary forms of
    employment, including irregular and casual work, homeworking and certain
    forms of self-employment. These developments are the result of an interplay
    between macroeconomic conditions, company strategy and labour legislation.
    However, pressure is mounting amongst the social partners to counter further
    fragmentation of standard employment statuses.

  • Article
    27 februar 1997

    Late in 1996, Parliament passed legislation providing for changes in the
    Employment Security Act that aroused the anger of the trade unions. Although
    most of the new provisions apply from 1 January 1997, the most controversial
    modification, in Section 2 of the Act, will not come into force until 1 July.
    This will give trade unions and employers more time to adapt to the new rule
    in the legislation which deals with the level of central bargaining and
    collective agreements.

  • Article
    27 februar 1997

    In January 1997, the cement company, Blue Circle (BCC), and two of Britain's
    largest trade unions, the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) and the
    General Municipal and Boilermakers Union (GMB), agreed what has been
    described as a "ground breaking" deal which gives a guarantee of job
    security, in return for pay restraint and more flexible working arrangements.
    Both the unions and the Labour Party see the agreement as a model for future
    employee relations, which could go some way towards reviving the fortunes of
    the British economy.

  • Article
    27 februar 1997

    The Institute for Economics and Social Science (Wirtschafts- und
    Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut, WSI) has recently published its annual
    examination of the previous collective bargaining round. It paints a rather
    mixed picture of 1996, a year in which collective bargaining was overshadowed
    by continuing relatively poor economic performance and a further increase in
    unemployment. GDP grew by only 1.4% over the year, while at the end of the
    year more than 4 million people were officially registered as unemployed.

  • Article
    27 februar 1997

    For the first time since 1960, the Belgian social partners have failed to
    reach an intersectoral pay agreement and have instead accepted government
    imposition of measures on employment and maximum pay increases. This
    development runs counter to all traditions of free collective bargaining and
    the autonomy of both sides of industry. It also appears to reinforce the
    trend towards sector-level bargaining, away from intersectoral or
    central-level bargaining, thereby widening the disparities between strong and
    weak sectors.

  • Article
    27 februar 1997

    In recent years pressure has mounted on all parties involved to rethink and
    revise the traditional policies and practices of Greek industrial relations
    as well as to promote social dialogue between employers and employees. As a
    result of changing conditions, some believe that a new era in industrial
    relations and social dialogue has been inaugurated in Greece.

  • Article
    27 februar 1997

    The majority of Norwegian wage agreements are of two years' duration, and the
    current settlements will expire during 1998. However, issues relating to
    remuneration will be renegotiated at central level in 1997. Most of the
    agreements between LO (the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions or
    Landsorganisasjonen i Norge) and NHO (the Confederation of Norwegian Business
    and Industry or Næringslivets Hovedorganisasjon) in the private sector
    expire on 31 March 1997, and bargaining is expected to commence in mid-March.
    Agreements in the public sector expire one month later. The social partners
    have not yet specified their demands, but all the central parties have held
    initial bargaining conferences. In this feature, we describe the economic
    climate in Norway prior to the wage negotiations, examine the provisional
    demands the social partners have put forward, and comment on these demands in
    the light of the existing social pact between the central labour market
    parties in Norway, the so-called "Solidarity Alternative"


  • Sectoral social dialogue

    Eurofound's representativeness 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.

  • Minimum wages in the EU

    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.  

  • COVID-19

    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.

  • European Working Conditions Surveys

    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.

  • European Restructuring Monitor

    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.

  • Challenges and prospects in the EU

    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.

  • European Company Survey 2019

    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. 

  • National social partners and policymaking

    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).

  • New forms of employment

    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.

  • European Company Surveys

    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.

Forthcoming publications