The proposed European Company Statute would enable European multinational
undertakings to operate under rules governed by EU company law, rather than
the diverse regulations of different Member States. Such "European Companies"
would also benefit from a special tax status. The idea has been on the table
for over a quarter of a century without winning adoption in the Council of
Ministers, with the problems centring around the issue of worker involvement
in the European Company. In 1996, a high-level expert group was set up by the
Commission to help break the deadlock, particularly in respect of those
countries which feared that the Statute would undermine strong national
involvement rights, and those countries which currently have no legal
mechanisms for ensuring employee involvement.
The major strike in Denmark's private sector in April-May 1998 (DK9805168F
) indirectly caused a dispute in Sweden. When the SAS airline tried to
reroute its flights scheduled for Copenhagen to Sweden, the Swedish Transport
Workers' Union (Svenska Transportarbetareförbundet, Transport) notified SAS
and the catering company Gate Gourmet on 1 May of its intention to impose a
blockade which was due to begin seven days later. Transport workers at
Arlanda airport refused to load and unload luggage and refuel the rerouted
aircraft before the blockade was due to take effect. Consequently, SAS had to
cancel several long-distance flights.
Along with all the other EU Member States, Finland has drawn up a National
Action Plan (NAP) on employment in response to the EU Guidelines for Member
States' employment policies 1998 , following the Luxembourg"Employment
Summit" in November 1997 (EU9711168F ). The plans are to be submitted to
the Cardiff European Council in June 1998.
Following the special Employment Summit  in Luxembourg in November 1997
(EU9711168F ), EU Member States agreed a set of Employment Guidelines 
designed to provide a framework for national action under four main "pillars"
- employability, adaptability, entrepreneurship and equal opportunities. Each
Member State was to draw up a National Action Plan (NAP) for consideration at
the June 1998 European Council meeting in Cardiff. The French Action Plan for
Employment, 1998  (Plan français d'action pour l'emploi 1998) was adopted
by the Council of Ministers on 15 April 1998 and submitted to the European
Commission on the same day.
Norway has experienced favourable employment statistics over the last few
years. Newly published figures from Statistics Norway show that there has
been a further fall in unemployment, and the employment rate is higher than
ever. Norway is not a member of the European Union, and is thus not bound by
a commitment to formulate National Action Plans  for employment in line
with the EU's 1998 Employment Guidelines . Employment policy goals are,
however, worked out annually in the National Budget.
On 10 May 1998, employers and the trade unions in the Dutch healthcare sector
reached a new collective agreement. This was made possible after a debate in
the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament, in which the outgoing Minister of
Health offered employers a chance for renegotiation in the autumn if the
budget proves to be inadequate.
In May 1998, the Portuguese Government announced proposals for a new basic
law on social security, containing structural measures designed to strengthen
system and address its financial sustainability. The proposals incorporate
some recommendations arising from the dialogue between the Government and the
According to Sergio Cofferati, general secretary of Italy's Cgil trade union
confederation, EU Economic and Monetary Union may have major consequences for
industrial relations, as the importance of the supranational level is bound
to increase. For this reason, in May 1998 Mr Cofferati suggested the
introduction of European-level collective agreements, provoking a hostile
reaction from employers.
Long-running disputes in the governing bodies of the FEP brought the union
organisation to a standstill in March 1998 and have led to the formation of a
new confederation for white-collar workers in Luxembourg's private sector.
The Spanish government, in drawing up its National Action Plan for employment
in response to the EU employment guidelines, for submission to the June 1998
Cardiff summit, has given priority to active employment policies supported by
training and local activity. However, the trade unions have severely
criticised the Plan and are organising protests against it.
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.
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.
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 European Jobs Monitor tracks changes in employment structure and contributes to the debate about whether European labour markets are polarising or upgrading. The European Jobs Monitor report in 2021 looks in particular at two dimensions of change in labour supply – increased female participation and population/workforce ageing – to show how they can contribute to an understanding of recent changes in employment structure.
This study presents policy-relevant findings on differential pay rates for men and women at occupational level. Previous research has underlined that the gender pay gap is biggest – and has been slowest to narrow – in well-paid jobs requiring professional qualifications. These are also jobs in which the female worker share is increasing relatively fast. The report maps the extent of the gender pay gap across the job-wage distribution, taking into account the shifting gender composition of specific sectors, occupations and jobs.
While often considered staid, social partner organisations have developed different ways of using technology to communicate with their members, as well as to organise, mobilise and develop both internally, among staff, and externally, vis-à-vis members and the public. This topical update maps current practices in social partner organisations, describes developments in the use of technologies, and outlines the impact on social partner activities and organisation.
What have been the major trends and policy developments regarding digitalisation in Europe? What do we know about the deployment of automation, digitisation and the platform economy? This flagship publication provides an overview of developments in Europe in recent years, as well as mapping the observable or expected effects on employment and working conditions, as well as exploring the implications from a policy perspective.
This report analyses and compares the industrial relations landscape in a number of sectors and activities that form a public service cluster. The report draws on Eurofound’s recent representativeness studies investigating the following sectors: education, human health, central government administration and local and regional government sector (including social services).
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.
Following improvements in economic growth and labour market participation after the global financial and economic crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a new, unprecedented challenge for the EU. The crisis threatens to pose an existential challenge to the EU’s cohesion and legitimacy. The subject of upward convergence is once again centre stage in the European policy debate. Expanding on work done on this topic in previous years, this flagship report traces developments in economic and social indicators between the economic crisis and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
This report examines the phenomenon of overtime in the EU, providing a comparative description of how it is regulated in EU Member States. It also assesses how contentious the issue can be and investigates the reasons behind the various disputes and debates. Finally, the report attempts to quantify and characterise the share of overtime for which workers are not paid or compensated. The analysis is based on information collected in EU Member States by the Network of Eurofound Correspondents.