At the end of January 1998, German unemployment reached a new post-war record
high, with more than 4.8 million people registered as unemployed. The
announcement of the latest unemployment figures on 5 February was accompanied
by nationwide protests of unemployed people all over Germany. The protests
were organised by independent organisations of jobless people, self-help
groups and trade unions' jobless committees and groups. The unions played an
important role in coordinating, organising and supporting the protests.
The Swedish Industrial Union (Industrifacket), which organises workers in the
leather and the clothing industries, campaigns actively against child labour.
In 1996 it drew the attention of the Swedish president of the European
football organisation, UEFA, to the fact that the footballs used in major
tournaments are manufactured by small children in Pakistan. The UEFA
president, Lennart Johansson, answered that he and the other representatives
of the sport shared the union's view on child labour. Mr Johansson in turn
took up the matter with the international football organisation, FIFA, and in
September the same year FIFA made an agreement with three international trade
union confederations not to order footballs manufactured by children. As a
result, the world's leading sports-equipment companies decided to invest in
projects to abolish child labour in Pakistani football factories.
In August 1997 the authorities rejected a bid made by a group of activists
from the Austrian Freedom Party (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, FPÖ) to
form an association called the Austrian Free Trade Union (Freie Gewerkschaft
Österreichs, FGÖ) (AT9705113N ). They argued that its proposed name
might give rise to confusion with a social democrat organisation, the
Austrian Federation of Free Trade Unions (Österreichischer Bund freier
Gewerkschaften, ÖBFG). The ÖBFG is dormant but social democrat trade
unionists have kept the name alive in order to have something to fall back on
in case the Austrian Trade Union Federation (Österreichischer
Gewerkschaftsbund, ÖGB), the sole formal trade union existing in Austria,
should ever disband.
Belgium proudly boasts one of the oldest consumer prices indices in the
world. Since the First World War, the government has carefully monitored how
much Belgians spend on their daily consumption needs. What started as a
rather rough indicator in 1914 has developed over the years into a refined
instrument for measuring the price increases of different consumer products
and the inflation rate.
On 3 February 1998, France's AFB banking employers' organisation gave notice
of termination of the collective agreement which has regulated the banking
sector since 1947. Negotiations on updating this agreement have been
unsuccessful, and representatives of employers and staff now have until 1
January 2000 to agree a new package.
At its general council meeting on 10 February 1998, the LO trade union
confederation voted in favour of industry-level settlements in the spring
1998 bargaining round in Norway's private sector. In addition, LO wants to
bargain with the NHO employers' confederation over the principles which are
to apply to the forthcoming reform of further education and training. LO
would like to see these negotiations finalised before the sectoral bargaining
commences, but NHO has rejected such talks.
A decree-law approved by the Italian Government on 10 February 1998 extends
the ongoing "privatisation" of the public sector employment relationship to
senior civil servants. It also introduces the use of fixed-term contracts and
temporary work, as well as mobility for public sector workers.
In February 1998, BBV - the second largest banking group in Spain - called on
the conservative Government to progress further with labour reform, reduce
the cost of dismissal and continue to reduce public expenditure in order to
meet the challenge of the single European currency.
In December 1997, the Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of
Europe (UNICE) declared its willingness to enter into negotiations with the
European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation and of Enterprises
of General Economic Interest (CEEP) and the European Trade Union
Confederation (ETUC) on the rights of workers on fixed-term contracts. These
negotiations would be held under the procedures set out in the Maastricht
social policy Agreement . This move follows the successful conclusion of
similar negotiations on parental leave in December 1995 (TN9801201S ) and
on part-time work in June 1997 (EU9706131F ). From the outset of the
latter negotiations, UNICE had rejected the trade unions' desire to negotiate
on all forms of "atypical employment", because of what it perceived to be the
very different issues pertaining to part-time and to fixed-term employment.
Regulation of fixed-term employment currently varies significantly between
Member States, particularly in relation to the possible maximum duration of
such contracts and the restrictions pertaining to their use. These are the
issues which will be of particular concern to the trade union side, now that
ETUC has agreed in March 1998 a mandate to enter into negotiations.
On 23 January 1998, the High Court in London ruled in nine test cases brought
by ex-mineworkers suing British Coal, the former nationalised coal authority,
for causing them chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The outcome was eagerly
awaited by tens of thousands other potential claimants, and could affect
miners who worked in coalmines as long ago as 1947. Over 100 other cases are
already awaiting judgment and there are thousands of other claims pending,
according to solicitors working on behalf of injured former members of the
National Union of Mineworkers. The test cases, taken by ex-miners from the
Durham, Yorkshire and South Wales coalfields took 17 months to reach the High
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 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.
This report investigates the practical implementation of the European Works Council (EWC) Directive at company level. It explores the challenges faced by existing EWCs and provides examples of identified solutions and remaining issues from the point of view of both workers and management. The report looks at the way that EWCs meet the requirements of the EWC Directive in terms of establishing processes of information and consultation.
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?
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 paper provides an analytical summary of state of the art academic and policy literature on the impact of climate change and policies to manage transitions to a carbon neutral economy on employment, working conditions, social dialogue and living conditions. It maps the key empirical findings around the impact of climate change and the green transitions on jobs, sectors, regions and countries in Europe, identifying the opportunities and risks that climate change policies bring to European labour markets.
Lockdown measures and the economic shift following the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a widening of the gender divide between men and women, putting at risk some of the gender equality gains that had been made in previous years. This report analyses changes in the distribution of paid and unpaid work, along with care and domestic responsibilities, among men and women during the crisis. It also explores the impact of the pandemic on the well-being of women and men.
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.
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.
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.
This study provides information allowing for an assessment of the representativeness of the actors involved in the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the textiles and clothing 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.