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
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.
STTK, Finland's white-collar workers' trade union confederation, proposed in
May 1998 that a "Finnish model" for reducing working time should be created
before 2000. Other union organisations have greeted this idea with
A 1997 Act establishing the equality of women and men with respect to night
work came into force in Belgium in April 1998. Trade unions do not approve of
this law on the grounds that it removes the power of decision over permitting
night work from sectoral joint committees, and abolishes the voluntary nature
of night work. However, in the name of promoting equal opportunities, a
further step has now been taken towards "normalising" a practice that had
been meant to remain exceptional under Belgian law.
Viessmann, a family-owned heating equipment business which employs roughly
6,500 employees, is a member of the Hessen regional metalworking employers'
association, Verband der Metall- und Elektro-unternehmen Hessen eV. After 450
employees were made redundant in 1995, Viessmann did not plan further
workforce reductions. However, management discussed the production of a new
product line in the Czech Republic. According to the company, the proposal to
produce the new line abroad was mainly due to cost advantages in production.
In comparison with the Czech Republic, production costs in Germany would not
have allowed for production at competitive prices.
Attempts at mediation in bargaining over a new collective agreement in the
transport sector broke down in May 1998, and 5,700 workers had gone on strike
by 22 May. The strikes involve those covered by the collective agreements for
scheduled bus transport, long-distance freight transport by road, and bus
drivers employed by Norwegian Railways (NSB). The conflict will be stepped up
incrementally until 6 June 1998 unless a new agreement is reached.
Personnel leasing/secondment (personaluthyrning) is the Swedish term for the
situation whereby persons under an employment contract with one firm are
leased to work in another firm. It covers arrangements known variously as
hiring-out of labour or temporary agency work in other countries. The
practice was deregulated in Sweden in 1991. In 1993, the
conservative-liberal-centre Government of the day repealed the requirement
that such firms had to have a licence in order to operate.
The Tanaiste (Deputy Prime Minister), unveiled Ireland's National Action Plan
 on employment on 20 April 1998. All the EU Member States have drawn up
such National Action Plans (NAP s) in line with the Employment Guidelines 
which arose from the special Employment Summit  in Luxembourg in November
1997 (EU9711168F ). The Guidelines set out a a framework for national
action under the four "pillars" of employability, adaptability,
entrepreneurship and equal opportunities. The NAPs were to be considered at
the Cardiff European Council meeting in June 1998.
In a speech delivered to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in April
1998, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, cited latest figures
showing that the UK has a "productivity gap" of 20%-30% with France and
Germany and of 40% with the USA. Although there are British "success stories"
(such as chemicals and paper/printing) and although the productivity gap has
been steadily reduced, it still remains significant and the productivity of
UK manufacturing trails behind that achieved elsewhere, almost regardless of
sector. The Chancellor argued that "it is time to develop a sense of national
purpose, to agree a long-term direction for Britain." He went on to say that
the Government promises to do everything it can to create the conditions in
which business can succeed, including major structural reforms of the UK
product, capital and labour markets. In terms of the labour market, the
Government's reform would include not just employment policy, but also
welfare, education, taxation and social security policy.
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.
The hospital sector has been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitals and their workers are on the frontline in the fight against the virus, and they face a number of significant challenges in terms of resources, work organisation and working conditions. This study will explore the role of social dialogue and collective bargaining in how the sector is adapting to the pandemic. What kinds of changes have been introduced, either through social dialogue or collective bargaining? Are the changes temporary or permanent?
This policy brief will provide an update on upward convergence in the economic, social and institutional dimensions of the European Union, as outlined in the European Pillar of Social Rights and its accompanying Social Scoreboard.
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 report explores the association between skills use and skills strategies and establishment performance, and how other workplace practices, in terms of work organisation, human resources management and employee involvement, can impact on this. It looks at how skills shortages can be addressed, at least in part, by creating an environment in which employees are facilitated and motivated to make better use of the skills they already have. This further supports the business case for a more holistic approach to management.
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. The aim of this Eurofound study on representativeness is to identify the relevant national and European social partner organisations in the civil aviation sector in the EU Member States.
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.
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.
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 impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have varied across sectors, occupations and categories of worker (for instance, according to gender, age or employment status). Hours worked have declined the most in sectors such as accommodation services and food and beverage services, and in occupations heavily reliant on in-person interaction, such as sales work. At the same time, it’s in these sectors that labour shortages have become increasingly evident as labour markets have begun to normalise.
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.