The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) celebrated its 25th or "silver"
anniversary in February 1998 with a conference entitled "New times - new
unions". The event, jointly hosted by ETUC and the European Trade Union
Institute (ETUI) from 5-7 February, also aimed to start a debate on the ETUC
in a changing society - a debate which is set to culminate in the next ETUC
congress in 1999. Speaking at the conference, ETUC president Fritz
Verzetnitsch stressed how far ETUC had come, from being a "platform in search
of a common denominator" to a "full trade union player" on the European
stage. He also highlighted the important role played by ETUC in initiating
and supporting the development of European industrial relations, involving
not only the trade union leadership, but also the grassroots.
Currently, Germany is experiencing a broad debate on the future of its
traditional system of branch-level collective agreements (branchenbezogene
Flächentarifverträge). This is particularly the case in metalworking, where
both collective bargaining parties - the IG Metall trade union and the
Gesamtmetall employers' association - have recently presented new proposals
for a modernisation of collective agreements (DE9712240F ). The debates
among the bargaining parties reflect the fact that in recent years German
branch-level agreements have been under increasing pressure from employers
demanding more company-specific regulations on employment conditions. The
bargaining parties have reacted to these pressures by making agreements more
flexible, through a differentiation of collectively agreed norms and
standards and a decentralisation of bargaining competence to the company
level (DE9709229F ).
After a year of existence, in January-February 1998 Greece's first union of
unemployed people began mobilising dynamically and formulating demands for
improving the living and working conditions of the unemployed in
After more than a year of negotiations, an agreement was reached in early
1998 between one of Portugal's largest banks, the BCP/BPA Group, and the
Union of Banking Employees, which marks a major departure from traditional
bargaining in this sector.
In January 1998, the Italian Government passed a legislative decree on the
reorganisation of the commerce sector. This first step towards a more
"European" model of commerce has been opposed by employers but welcomed by
According to estimates by the Association of Social Security Providers
(Hauptverband der Sozialversicherungsträger, HSV) released at the beginning
of February 1998, the average duration of sick leave was 13.3 calendar days
per worker in 1997. Final figures will be known only in June. The early
estimate for 1996 was 14.7 days and the final figure was 14.0 days. Both the
1996 final data and the 1997 estimate are the lowest in well over a decade.
This development continues a trend in evidence since 1991. During the period
1989 to 1991 the average annual duration of sick leave peaked at 15.3 days.
Since then it has been falling, at first by roughly 0.1 days per year until
it reached 14.9 days in 1995, and much faster since then. The data include
all recipients of wages and salaries but exclude civil servants and most
A collective agreement for Finnish doctors was signed on 28 February 1998,
taking into account the application of the 1993 EU Directive on working time
to their work. As a result, pay will increase by FIM 1,400 per month, and
weekly working time by 1.25 hours.
In November 1997, the social partners represented on the Netherlands' Labour
Foundation seemed to have reconfirmed the reputation of the Dutch
"consultation model" by jointly averting a possible end to the policy of pay
moderation. It was agreed in the Foundation to continue moderate pay
increases in exchange for employee training opportunities and sick leave.
However, initial analysis of negotiations in early 1998 reveals that, in
practice, it is very difficult to translate the provisions of such an
agreement reached at central level into a form that is acceptable to the
social partners at sector or company level.
On 12 February 1998, the European Commission adopted a report on the
implementation of the Council Recommendation of 31 March 1992 on childcare
(92/241/EEC ). The Recommendation was adopted as part of the Community's
Third Equal Opportunities Action Programme (1991-5) and the Commission's
social Action Programme accompanying the 1989 Community Charter of the
Fundamental Social Rights of Workers  (the "Social Charter"). Both the
Third Action Programme and the Social Charter emphasised the importance of
measures to enable men and women to reconcile work and family life. Such
measures were to act as a means to achieve greater equality of opportunity
for women and men in the labour market. The 1998 guidelines for Member
States' employment policies , which were adopted by the Council of
Ministers in December 1997 (EU9712174N ), also call for adequate provision
to be made for the care of children and other dependants in order to enable
greater equality in the labour market.
The distribution of earned and household incomes (Arbeits- und
Haushaltseinkommen) in Germany has been displaying growing "social
polarisation" for some considerable time. This is the finding of a new report
published by the Institute for Economics and Social Science (Wirtschafts- und
Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut, WSI) - "Verteilungspolitik; Chronik eines
angekündigten politischen Selbstmords", Claus Schäfer, in WSI-Mitteilungen
Vol. 50, No.10 (1997). The reasons for this development range from structural
changes in employment relationships to the implementation of moderate
collective bargaining policies and active redistribution through state social
and tax policies.
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 European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) is carried out every four to five years since its inception in 2003, with the latest edition in 2016. It examines both the objective circumstances of people's lives and how they feel about those circumstances and their lives in general. It covers issues around employment, income, education, housing, family, health and work–life balance. It also looks at subjective topics, such as people's levels of happiness and life satisfaction, and perceptions of the quality of society.
This series brings together publications and other outputs of the European Jobs Monitor (EJM), which tracks structural change in European labour markets. The EJM analyses shifts in the employment structure in the EU in terms of occupation and sector and gives a qualitative assessment of these shifts using various proxies of job quality – wages, skill-levels, etc.
Eurofound's European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) examines both the objective circumstances of European citizens' lives and how they feel about those circumstances and their lives in general. This series consists of outputs from the EQLS 2016, the fourth edition of the survey. The survey was first carried out in 2003.
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 EWCS 2015, the sixth edition of the survey. The survey was first carried out in 1990.
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 EWCS 1996, the second edition of the survey. The survey was first carried out in 1990.
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 EWCS 2001, which was an extension of the EWCS 2000 to cover the then 12 acceding and candidate countries. The survey was first carried out in 1990.
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 EWCS 2000, the third edition of the survey. The survey was first carried out in 1990.
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 first edition of the survey carried out in 2004–2005 under the name European Establishment Survey on Working Time and Work-Life Balance.