Swedish employees are entitled to leave of absence for a number of reasons,
and the Government's plans to introduce yet another one - for starting or
working in their own businesses - were not met with overwhelming enthusiasm
when they were made public in spring 1997. The Swedish Employers'
Confederation (Svenska Arbetsgivareföreningen, SAF) and the National Agency
for Government Employers (Arbetsgivarverket) objected, and the Swedish Trade
Union Confederation (Landsorganisationen, LO) doubted that there was a need
for an act of the kind proposed.
There has, in recent years, been an increasing focus on corporate conduct in
terms of social, ethical and environmental performance. The experience of
large multinational corporations such as Nike and Shell, which have been
faced with protest campaigns against their social and environmental policies,
has galvanised actors in this area. Many organisations are beginning to
recognise that their profitability in the long term depends as much on on
their performance in satisfying the aspirations of their "stakeholders" -
including customers, suppliers, employees, local communities, investors,
governments, and interest groups - in terms of their social and environmental
record, as it does on price and quality.
On 24 November 1997, the general meeting of the peak employers' association
(Vereinigung der Arbeitgeberverbände in Bayern, VAB) in the federal state
(Land) of Bavaria decided to merge with the Bavarian peak trade association
(Landesverband der Bayerischen Industrie, LBI). The new Landpeak association
for Bavarian enterprises is called Vereinigung der Bayerischen Wirtschaft
(VBW). On 17 December the constituent assembly of the VBW elected Erich
Sennebogen as president.
Since the 1980s, intense product market competition among the industrialised
countries has led to a search for new products and new methods of production.
At the same time, new technology is changing the ways that labour markets
work and UK labour institutions have increasingly come into question. The UK
in particular has experienced a sharp decline in the coverage of collective
bargaining and of unionisation. Most of these developments have either been
the consequence of, or the reason for, increasing flexibility. Yet what is
"flexibility", what does it mean and what is it doing?
Although half of the private sector bargaining area conducted collective
bargaining in the spring (DK9705110F ), 1997 was a relatively peaceful
year on the Danish labour market, with fewer conflicts than in previous years
when bargaining occurred. According to statistics from the Danish Employers'
Confederation (Dansk Arbejdsgiverforening, DA) the number of working days
lost due to industrial action in 1997 - at 82,992 days - was significantly
lower than in 1995 and 1993. The main reason for the lower figure is that
only half of the private sector area conducted collective bargaining in 1997,
while the whole area did so in 1995 and 1993.
Ireland's Labour Court made its biggest ever individual equal pay award
recently when it held that four communications assistants represented by the
Civil and Public Services Union (CPSU) and employed by the Irish Aviation
Authority were entitled to equal pay with two male radio officers. The
government department with overall responsibility for the Authority, the
Department of Public Enterprise, has decided to accept the ruling, which was
issued on 28 November 1997 and which means each of the four women will
receive a total of IEP 100,000 on a backdated basis.
A new three-year collective agreement was signed at Cargolux SA, the
Luxembourg air freight company, in December 1997. It contains substantial
improvements, including the restoration of certain benefits lost in 1995.
Joining the European Union in 1995 made it necessary for Austria to improve
the regulations on employee protection against hazards. This included
particularly the appointment of safety officers in enterprises, the
documentation of hazards, and the availability and job descriptions of
occupational medical practitioners. A plan was drawn up to implement better
protection in stages, starting in 1997 with firms employing more than 100
workers. On 1 January 1998, firms with between 51 and 100 employees became
subject to the new regulations, and on 1 January 1999 those with 11 to 50
employees will follow. Finally in 2000, the remaining companies with 10 or
fewer employees will also be covered.
An unusual collective agreement has been concluded between the Swedish Energy
Employers' Association (Energiföretagens Arbetsgivareförening, EFA) on the
one hand, and the Association of Graduate Engineers
(Civilingenjörsförbundet, CF), the Swedish Union for Technical and Clerical
Employees in Industry and Services (Svenska Industritjänstemannaförbundet
SIF), the Association of Management and Professional Staff (Ledarna) and the
Union of Service and Communication (SEKO) on the other. The agreement, which
came into force on 1 January 1998, regulates general terms of employment for
around 15,000 workers in private energy enterprises and in the state-owned
Vattenfall group. The agreement fulfils many of the current requirements put
forward by employers, and the managing director of EFA, Björn Tibell, calls
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.
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, conducted in three rounds – in April and July 2020 and in March 2021. This is complemented by the inclusion of research into the ongoing effects of the pandemic in much of Eurofound’s other areas of work.
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.
The rapid rise of the platform economy has led to a marked transformation of European labour markets, and existing regulatory frameworks and voluntary initiatives have yet to catch up. While platform work offers opportunities for workers and employers and potentially contributes to innovation, economic growth and competitiveness in the EU, it has been criticised from the beginning because of the poor employment and working conditions often experienced by workers.
The European Jobs Monitor tracks changes in employment structure and contributes to the debate about whether European labour markets are polarising or upgrading. The European Jobs Monitor report in 2021 looks in particular at two dimensions of change in labour supply – increased female participation and population/workforce ageing – to show how they can contribute to an understanding of recent changes in employment structure.
This study presents policy-relevant findings on differential pay rates for men and women at occupational level. Previous research has underlined that the gender pay gap is biggest – and has been slowest to narrow – in well-paid jobs requiring professional qualifications. These are also jobs in which the female worker share is increasing relatively fast. The report maps the extent of the gender pay gap across the job-wage distribution, taking into account the shifting gender composition of specific sectors, occupations and jobs.
While often considered staid, social partner organisations have developed different ways of using technology to communicate with their members, as well as to organise, mobilise and develop both internally, among staff, and externally, vis-à-vis members and the public. This topical update maps current practices in social partner organisations, describes developments in the use of technologies, and outlines the impact on social partner activities and organisation.
What have been the major trends and policy developments regarding digitalisation in Europe? What do we know about the deployment of automation, digitisation and the platform economy? This flagship publication provides an overview of developments in Europe in recent years, as well as mapping the observable or expected effects on employment and working conditions, as well as exploring the implications from a policy perspective.
This report analyses and compares the industrial relations landscape in a number of sectors and activities that form a public service cluster. The report draws on Eurofound’s recent representativeness studies investigating the following sectors: education, human health, central government administration and local and regional government sector (including social services).
The COVID-19 pandemic radically reshaped workplace practices and work organisation across the EU. This report explores changes that occurred as a result of or during the COVID-19 pandemic in areas such as technological transformation, decision-making and remote working. The research sets out to learn from company experiences and measures that have proved critical to keeping businesses running. It aims to inform policymakers, employers and trade unions on how to make businesses, workplaces and workers more resilient in the face of a crisis such as COVID-19.
Following improvements in economic growth and labour market participation after the global financial and economic crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a new, unprecedented challenge for the EU. The crisis threatens to pose an existential challenge to the EU’s cohesion and legitimacy. The subject of upward convergence is once again centre stage in the European policy debate. Expanding on work done on this topic in previous years, this flagship report traces developments in economic and social indicators between the economic crisis and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This report captures the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the quality of life of older citizens, including the impact on their well-being, finances, employment and social inclusion. It explores the effects on care use and reliance on other support. The report analyses policy measures that have been implemented in EU Member States that have proven particularly important for the quality of life of older citizens, for example, measures to support independent living.
This report examines the phenomenon of overtime in the EU, providing a comparative description of how it is regulated in EU Member States. It also assesses how contentious the issue can be and investigates the reasons behind the various disputes and debates. Finally, the report attempts to quantify and characterise the share of overtime for which workers are not paid or compensated. The analysis is based on information collected in EU Member States by the Network of Eurofound Correspondents.