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
According to a recent analysis by the Institute for Economics and Social
Science (Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut, WSI),
collectively agreed basic wages and salaries in *western Germany* rose on
average by about 1.4% in 1997. Since the inflation rate was 1.8% in 1997,
employees had to accept an average decrease in real wages of about 0.4
percentage points. Furthermore, the 1997 growth in wages and salaries was
much below the year's "margin of distribution" (Verteilungsspielraum) of 5.2%
- calculated by adding the 1.8% increase in inflation to a 3.4% increase in
productivity. Collectively agreed pay increases were thus the result of a
very moderate wage policy, of which the current trend of not exhausting the
"margin of distribution" is seen as a continuation. (DE9709232N ).
Since early January 1998, the Greek shipping industry has been facing serious
problems, with workers mobilising strongly and making numerous demands, while
at the same time being divided over several issues. A key factor in the
current difficulties is the ending of the system of "cabotage", whereby the
country's own ships have a protected market position in Greek coastal
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.
The European Restructuring Monitor (ERM) has reported on the employment impact of large-scale business restructuring since 2002. This publication series include the ERM reports, as well as blogs, articles and working papers on restructuring-related events in the EU27 and Norway.
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.
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).
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered an extraordinary level of provision of social services across the EU. Healthcare and care providers carried much of the burden and, together with essential services, played a crucial role in getting citizens through the crisis. This report explores how public services adapted to the new reality and what role was played by the digital transformation of services. The aim is to contribute to the documentation and analysis of changes in funding, delivery and use of healthcare and social services during the pandemic.
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.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in European sectoral social dialogue taking place at cross-sectoral level. 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 at cross-sectoral level in the EU Member States.