At the beginning of February 1998, the media reported that the 56-year-old
managing director of the Stora forestry company, who was about to leave his
job after six years, would receive a "golden handshake" (or severance
package) worth SEK 58 million. In the first two years following his
resignation, he would receive SEK 2.8 million and from the age of 60 a large
pension. What made the information conspicuous, apart from the large sum, was
that the managing director was said not to have been dismissed but to have
left on his own initiative, and that his terms of resignation had been
renegotiated and improved shortly before he had made his decision.
Owing to the use of "social shock absorbers" to ease the blow of
redundancies, the restructuring of Italian industry - especially in the 1980s
- has proceeded without excessive social costs, though with substantial
economic costs to the state. A reform of these measures is envisaged as part
of the current reform of the welfare state and broader redefinition of
employment policies. Moreover, a still unresolved issue is the definition of
new measures to deal with the employment crisis in the service sector.
The Federation of Transport Workers' Unions in the European Union (FST) and
theEuropean Community Shipowners' Association (ECSA) agreed a joint text on
working time and time off aboard ship in December 1997. The approximately
128,000 EU nationals and 26,000 non-EU nationals employed in the maritime
sector are among the workers excluded from the provisions of the EU Directive
(93/104/EC) on certain aspects of the organisation of working time.
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.
In February 1998, it was announced that the Government is to draw up a
voluntary code on combating age discrimination in recruitment. The statement
came as the charity, Age Concern, launched an "Age discrimination awareness
campaign". A survey conducted for Age Concern estimates that more than 18
million adults have experienced age discrimination in employment, health or
welfare. The study found that 70% of the population believe age
discrimination exists, while only half of those who reported it were aged
over 45, showing that it is a problem that affects most ages.
January-February 1998 saw a dispute at the Spanish airline, Iberia, organised
by the pilots belonging to the SEPLA trade union. The grounds for the dispute
related to the planned restructuring of the company.
Following the breakdown of talks with employers' representatives,
Luxembourg's two main trade unions approached the Government in January 1998
and set out their proposals for transposing the EU Directive on parental
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.
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.
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.
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.
Adequate, affordable housing has become a matter of great concern, with an alarming number of Europeans with low or lower household incomes unable to access any, especially in capital cities. Housing was a key factor in people’s experience of the COVID-19 pandemic: its quality and level of safety significantly affected how lockdowns and social distancing measures were experienced, with those who had no access to quality housing at higher risk of deteriorating living conditions and well-being.
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.