On 20 February 1998, representatives of decision-making bodies, businesses,
trade unions and non -governmental organisations from the USA and the
European Union met in Brussels to exchange views on codes of conduct aimed at
safeguarding basic labour standards and protecting human rights. The meeting
highlighted the recent adoption of such standards in several sectors on both
sides of the Atlantic. The symposium was part of a wider transatlantic agenda
of action which aims to promote the development of codes of conduct
concerning working conditions.
In February 1998, the debate on dealing with breaches of labour law in
Portugal, which has been underway for some time, entered its final phase.
Changes are proposed to the penalties applied for non-compliance with labour
In February 1998, the First Chamber of the Dutch Parliament approved the new
Works Councils Act. A few days earlier, a research report had revealed that
many small companies fail to comply with the requirements either to establish
a works council or to hold regular meetings of staff.
The firefighters' strike, which had lasted for over three months, ended in
February 1998 after both parties approved a conciliation proposal from the
state conciliator. The strike is generally considered not to have achieved
any special benefits for the strikers.
In 1996, legal action was taken by Denmark's Christian Trade Union (Den
Kristelige Fagforening, DKF) against a company that had dismissed an employee
on grounds of non-compliance with a closed-shop agreement concluded with the
General Workers' Union in Denmark (Dansk Specialarbejderforbund, SiD) in
1990. The closed-shop agreement stated that employees recruited after 1990
should already be or become a member of SiD. Having been employed for a year
at the company when the closed-shop agreement with SiD was reached, the
employee at the centre of the case became a member of SiD. Later, he
regretted the membership and refused to pay union dues, resulting in his
exclusion from the trade union and later his dismissal.
In keeping with the general thrust of Ireland's current three year economic
and social pact,/Partnership 2000/ (IE9702103F ), a joint company/trade
union "partnership forum" was established in January 1998 at the Waterford
(south-east Ireland) contact-lens plant of Bausch & Lomb (B&L), the USA-based
multinational. The company has a sunglasses plant in the same city, but this
operates separately and with a different management structure. Overall, B&L
is set to increase its total number of employees from its current level of
1,100 to over 1,500 within two years. This involves an ongoing IEP 43 million
investment programme and will make B&L the largest employer in the region,
thus surpassing the world-famous Waterford Crystal where 1,400 are employed.
In early 1998, farm owners, cooperatives and trade unions in the Spanish
olive-growing sector are preparing new protests in opposition to the reform
of the Common Market Organisation for olive oil laid down in a draft proposal
by the EU Commissioner responsible for agriculture. The sector believes that
the proposed changes would have negative effects on employment. However, the
sector's demands no longer have the unanimous backing of the Government and
the political parties.
On 16 February 1998, the president of the Public Services, Transport and
Traffic Union (Gewerkschaft Öffentliche Dienste, Transport und Verkehr,
ÖTV), Herbert Mai, stated in an interview that in the long run there is no
alternative to an extensive reduction of working time in order to solve the
unemployment problem. For Mr Mai, the introduction of the 30-hour week could
be an important step towards halving unemployment in Germany. In the public
services sector alone, a weekly reduction of one hour in working time would
have an "arithmetical employment effect", producing 135,000 new jobs. At the
moment, weekly working time in public services is 38.5 hours in western
Germany and 40 hours in eastern Germany.
Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) paints a wide-ranging picture of Europe at work across countries, occupations, sectors and age groups. This series consists of findings from the European Working Conditions Telephone Survey (EWCTS) 2021, an extraordinary edition conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was first carried out in 1990.
This publication series gathers all overview reports on developments in working life, annual reviews in industrial relations and working conditions produced by Eurofound on the basis of national contributions from the Network of Eurofound Correspondents (NEC). Since 1997, these reports have provided overviews of the latest developments in industrial relations and working conditions across the EU and Norway. The series may include recent ad hoc articles written by members of the NEC.
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, launched in April 2020, with five rounds completed at different stages during 2020, 2021 and 2022. This is complemented by the inclusion of research into the ongoing effects of the pandemic in much of Eurofound’s other areas of work.
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.
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 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 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.
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 professional football 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 professional football sector in the EU Member States.
This report explores the drivers of economic and social convergence in Europe, using a selected set of economic and social indicators to examine trends in the performance of individual Member States. It also investigates what role the Economic and Monetary Union plays in convergence, particularly in southern and eastern Member States. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on convergence is analysed and initial conclusions are drawn about the impact of EU recovery packages and their ability to prevent divergence.
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.
In 2022, the European Semester was streamlined to integrate the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) established on 19 February 2021 (Regulation (EU) 2021/241). While facing the geopolitical and economic challenges triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Member States have been implementing the national Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRPs) for more than one year and around 100 billion euro in RRF funds have already been disbursed.
As economies emerge from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, labour shortages are becoming increasingly evident. These include shortages exacerbated by the crisis in some sectors and professions where they had been endemic for some time. This report will look at measures implemented at national level to tackle labour shortages in the health, care and information and communications technology sectors, as well as those arising from the twin digital and green transitions.
With the expansion of telework and different forms of hybrid work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for policymakers to consider both the opportunities and the negative consequences that may result. This report will explore potential scenarios for such work. In doing so, it will identify trends and drivers, and predict how they might interact to create particular outcomes and how they are likely to affect workers and businesses. Policy pointers will outline what could be done to facilitate desirable outcomes and to avoid undesirable ones.
The urban-rural divide in EU countries has grown in recent years, and the depopulation of certain rural areas in favour of cities is a challenge when it comes to promoting economic development and maintaining social cohesion and convergence. Using data from Eurofound and Eurostat, this report will investigate the trends and drivers of the urban-rural divide, in various dimensions: economic and employment opportunities, access to services, living conditions and quality of life.